The Mortensen Award
1998 Affirmation Conference, Portland, Oregon
The Mortensen Award was established, under the direction of Ron Kershaw, in 1987. It was decided the award would be given annually to the one individual who had given outstanding service and leadership to Affirmation. It is the only continuing award Affirmation presents and it tries to recognize the best people in the organization. The past recipients are:
The selection committee for the award is composed of past recipients. Each year, around July, a call is sent out to all Affirmation leaders, chapters and groups asking for nominations. Anyone may nominate any individual or you may even nominate yourself. The receipt of nomination letters constitutes the only people considered for the award.
The award was established and intended to always be an award for service to Affirmation. This is the only consideration in the selection of the recipient. We greatly applaud those wonderful souls in our midst who also make great contributions to the gay and lesbian community at large. We especially applaud those people who have made outstanding efforts in the Mormon community through related groups such as Family Fellowship, Gamofites and others in increasing the understanding of the gay and lesbian Mormon community.
But because the Mortensen Award is intended to honor only service and leadership to Affirmation, the winner is decided totally on the merits of the nomination letters received and the contributions to Affirmation as spelled out in those letters.
And now on to this year's recipient:
1998 Mortensen Award Presentation
Each year, Affirmation the Mortensen Award to that individual or individuals in recognition for their dedication, commitment and leadership within the organization.
Past recipients include Paul Mortensen, Ina Mae Mum, Cliff Barns, Irwin Phelps, Ron Kershaw, Jacki Reideman, Tere LaGiusa, Larry Gates, James Kent, Duane Jennings and Ricky Gilbert.
This year there was a record breaking number of nominations. They include Alan Blodgett (Portland), Frank Sousa (NYC), Scott MacKay (Orange County), Henry Miller (Portland) and Ben Jarvis (LA).
From his speech announcing the winner, Ricky Gilbert said:
"I have the great honor of introducing the recipient of the 1998
Mortensen Award for outstanding leadership and service to Affirmation.
Duane has introduced the outstanding people that have been nominated
to receive this award this year. Each nominee is highly deserving
of this recognition for his commitment and leadership in Affirmation.
However, I now want to introduce the person nominated that Duane
didn't introduce who will receive the award. This year as in many
other years the committee has chosen someone who has made a substantial
contribution at the local chapter level. And, I might add, the vote
was nearly unanimous. This is the kind of individual the committee
likes to honor.
This years recipient of the Mortensen Award has been associated with his local chapter nearly twelve years. During that time he has given tirelessly of his time, money, and emotional strength and been instrumental in keeping the local chapter operating all those years. He has served in virtually every local leadership position, including Director, Assistant Director, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. He also spearheaded the drive to hold a National Affirmation Conference in his area.
Along the way, he has touched countless lives. For several years he has been a contact person for Affirmation in his area.
But what really convinced the committee to select this individual were the many people who submitted individual comments on his dedication and service to Affirmation.
One person said: ‘He has always been there, usually in an unassuming way, behind the scenes supporting Affirmation, and reaching out to chapter members and potential members as he did to me’
Another person said about him: ‘He has been there for us year after year. He's helped hold the Chapter together many times when it might have just fallen apart. When we first came to Affirmation looking for support, he was there, and he's still there. He has generously contributed money and time for others to attend functions. He has opened his home and his heart to many in need. He is very accepting of all our members and in planning has always been thoughtful of the needs of the women in our group as well as the men.’
And finally the current chapter director has said: ‘He was the first person I met when I became involved with Affirmation six years ago and he was a welcome and much needed model of stability and support at a time I very much needed it. I admired him for his willingness to remain in Affirmation when it seemed there was little reason for him to do so. But stick around he has. I firmly believe there is a Seattle chapter today because of his dedication to Affirmation and his desire to make sure this organization is there for those who are making big transitions in their identity and acceptance and love of self. He is always there for support and advice. He is always there leading by quiet example. He is always there strengthening those who need support who come to us.’
It is this quiet behind the scenes dedication that convinced the committee to select this outstanding individual for the award. It is with great honor that we give the 1998 Mortensen Award for outstanding leadership and service in Affirmation to DAVID JOHNSON from the Seattle Chapter.”
The Award reads:
GAY AND LESBIAN MORMONS
FOR OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE
SEPTEMBER 5, 1998