Charlie Clayton - Donor Award
Tribute by Roland Lee
I have been asked to give an introduction to a very special person who we honor tonight, Mr. Charles Lee Clayton, or "just Charlie" as he likes to be called. His life has been one of quiet service, and an example of what one person can do to bless the lives of others.
Charlie has been a part of my family and a personal friend since childhood. We were boy scouts together and spent many weekends camping and exploring the desert until he was drafted into the Army in 1969. 14 months in Viet Nam changed Charlie, as it did many of our young men, but it did not break his spirit. He is not only a patriot, but a hard-working stubborn man. When there's a need, that's when Charlie clicks into high gear. When people say it can't be done, Charlie quietly goes ahead and does it.
Charlie retired to St. George from Southern California in February 2011 after a 40-year career in maintenance and landscaping. Without a wife or children of his own, he has chosen to spend his time and financial resources to help others and to honor our pioneer forefathers.
His own pioneer roots are deep going back to Samuel Knight, who joined Jacob Hamblin as one of the first missionaries to the Southern Utah Indians in 1854. His mother, Marjorie Clayton, lived in the Jacob Hamblin home in Santa Clara since birth and Charlie spent many childhood hours there. Today The Jacob Hamblin Home is one of the significant early Church history sites and is staffed by church missionaries. Charlie served as a special church missionary there and spent many hours maintaining the property. The LDS church has honored Charlie for his countless hours of service and his generous donation of many priceless historical documents to the LDS Church history department.
He has also been honored by the City of Santa Clara as "Volunteer of the Year" for providing both time and money for several pioneer heritage projects. One of his most important accomplishments has been the many thousands of dollars he has contributed to establish the Samuel Knight Historical Museum in the basement of the Town Hall, and the many volunteer hours he has spent manning it. He has also worked hard to clean up the old cemetery, identify lost or mis-marked graves sites, and has donated funds to set new grave markers for those without them.
As a member of the Cotton Mission Chapter SUP he represented our group in teaming up with the Santa Clara Historical Society to place three bronze monuments in the Santa Clara town square honoring pioneer families. Those plaques have the Cotton Mission Chapter name on them.
Charlie's mission includes helping future pioneers as well. He knows what a little help can do for disadvantaged youth, and when he joined the Sons of Utah Pioneers he was quick to support our youth scholarship program. He has since sponsored many thousands of dollars in donations to that important cause. Because of those contributions, and the donations of other chapter members, a number of disadvantaged young people are able to attend college and have a better tomorrow.
I'm sure that all the faithful pioneers and the many volunteers of the past will join with us tonight in extending a grateful appreciation to Mr. Charlie Clayton, for his contributions to our pioneer heritage and especially to the Cotton Mission Chapter scholarship fund.
- Roland Lee, September 22, 2015