Regional welfare center with multiple facilities dedicated in Las Vegas

On a chilly Nov. 14 evening - unusual for Las Vegas at this time of the year - Bishop H. David Burton, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, dedicated the new Las Vegas Regional Welfare Services Center.

The facility is located near the older part of downtown Las Vegas, a short distance from the historic Mormon Fort, built by LDS missionaries in 1855. The fort is the oldest surviving structure in Nevada.The new Welfare Services Center includes a 9,000-square-foot Bishops' Storehouse, LDS Employment and Referral Center, dry-pack cannery and newly remodeled and enhanced Deseret Industries training and processing facilities.

During the dedication service, Bishop Burton quoted from an address given years ago by President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency regarding the Church Welfare Program when he said: " `Our primary purpose is to set up a system in the Church that teaches independence, industry and thrift in the lives of Church members.' "

Bishop Burton then related a story about when he was 11 years old and accompanied his father, who was bishop of his ward, to visit a young woman who was terminally ill. While they were visiting the young woman, a black car drove up, and out stepped a tall, white-haired man who introduced himself as David O. McKay.

Bishop Burton said he never forgot the spirit he felt on that occasion and the importance of reaching out to those in need. "Our responsibility is to take care of the poor and needy of the Church. If a bishop is to err, let him err on the side of giving, not withholding from those in need."

Then after reading a proclamation issued by Nevada Secretary of State Cheryl A. Lau, proclaiming Sunday, Nov. 14, as LDS Welfare Services Center Day in Nevada, Bishop Burton complimented local priesthood leaders for their efforts in teaching self-reliance and rendering valuable community service to those in need.

Prior to the dedication, a tour of the new center was conducted on the afternoon of Nov. 12 for governmental and news media representatives and hosted by the Southern Nevada Multi-Regional Public Affairs Council. A public open house and tours were hosted later that evening by the 18 Las Vegas area stakes.

Dean Walker, manager of Deseret Industries, added: "Since [our Deseret IndustriesT initial opening in 1979, we have provided thousands of local individuals with employment, training and rehabilitation, along with providing a quality thrift store for members and the general public. At Deseret Industries, there is a special emphasis on training and placement of handicapped and disabled individuals. This new combined facility will greatly enhance our ability to serve those in need."

According to Robert Cordner, manager of the LDS Employment and Referral Service, the new service center is in a more centralized location in the Las Vegas Valley and will be more accessible to those utilizing its services. Brother Cordner indicated that during the first nine months of 1993, the Employment and Referral Service has placed 711 individuals in meaningful employment throughout the southern Nevada area.

"The continued growth of the Church in southern Nevada, along with the Church's continued emphasis on self sufficiency, has necessitated a more modern, centralized and accessible facility in one location for those we serve," commented Theron Swainston, multi-regional welfare agent. "This newly dedicated facility will be a great blessing to the Saints in this area."

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