Let’s be honest though — part of the miracle of the trek west is that more pioneers did not turn back after looking at a mostly barren desert valley at the end July. It’s hard to imagine a harsher landscape.
To their credit, they dug in, literally and figuratively, and made the desert “blossom as a rose.”
Utah has continued with its pioneering legacy. As a young nursing student, I sat in a crowded auditorium and listened to Barney Clark talk about becoming the world’s first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, along with Dr. DeVries who performed the surgery. That was pioneering.
Philo T. Farnsworth was a Utah native famous for inventing the first television. Our current Silicon Slopes were preceded by innovative companies like WordPerfect and Novell. Our tech sector continues to boom and to innovate.
Salt Lake Tribune – Daily Highlights
Innovation starts early, too. In the last few years, Brigham Young University students created “Owlet,” a little bootie that fits on a baby’s foot and monitors vital signs, including oxygen levels. It connects to an app on mom and dad’s smartphones and is now being used to gather data on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Other college students have pioneered the creation of everything from affordable technology for infant ventilators to be used in developing countries to affordable well-digging equipment to a video game that helps diagnose “lazy eye” in children to an origami-inspired bullet proof shield.
That old quote, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” continues to inspire modern-day pioneers. Robert Workman, the “Robert” of Robert’s Crafts, saw a need in the Democratic Republic of Congo — inconsistent or nonexistent electrical power. He took on the challenge of developing portable solar-powered devices and now has solar panels the size of a briefcase — among a number of other products his company “GoalZero” now sells. Their products are now putting reliable, affordable power into the hands of people all over the world.
Of course when we talk about modern pioneers, we must talk about more than innovators in the tech and medical industries.
Those early pioneers came to Utah seeking freedom to practice their religion free from fear. Today, we have new “pioneers” coming to Utah seeking freedom to practice their religions free from fear. Utah has many who welcome those new pioneers and who truly believe in following the LDS 11th Article of Faith: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Allowing all men and women that same privilege really means everyone, from LDS to Hindi, from Muslim to Jewish and from Buddhist to atheist.
This weekend, whether you are celebrating five generations of Mormon ancestry or you’re celebrating “Pie and Beer” day, I hope you’ll take a minute to think about the pioneers in your life — and how you are a pioneer in your own way.
Holly Richardson is grateful to the pioneering generations that came before and is blown away by the awesome pioneers she sees in the up-and-coming generation.