Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church, was named "A Giant in Our City" by the Salt Lake Chamber during a dinner at the Grand America Hotel on March 16. Leaders of the Salt Lake community and beyond, including President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and other General Authorities, gathered to honor and celebrate Bishop Burton's ongoing service and contributions to the Utah community.
"As many of you know, the memorable days in my life I've labeled 'chocolate chip cookie' days," Bishop Burton said. "Today is certainly a giant chocolate chip cookie day for me."
Bishop Burton was recognized as the 31st recipient of the "A giant in our city" award, one of the business community's most prestigious honors. Recognized for his public service and extraordinary professional achievement, Bishop Burton was identified as a builder of the community.
"Downtown has always had good fundamentals," he said. "It has good bones, but the muscles on those bones needed a little toning."
Speaking of the $1.5 billion City Creek mixed-use building project he has overseen for almost a decade in downtown Salt Lake City, Bishop Burton said, "There is a bright light at the end of the long construction tunnel!"
Remembering when he spoke at the same event held eight years ago, Bishop Burton told of the renewed vitality the City Creek plans brought to downtown Salt Lake. He also spoke of the Church's involvement and investment in the large downtown project.
"It's no wonder people's attitudes and perceptions of downtown are improving. Utahns increasingly feel a sense of ownership and connection to their capital city," Bishop Burton said.
Because the Church is the birth parents of this community, the Church has a special interest in and some responsibility for the future of Salt Lake City, he said.
"Our commitment to this city is broad and deep," he declared. "Ever since Brigham Young said, 'This is the right place. Drive on!' we've been striving to do our part to make this city, in a mountain valley, a beautiful, vibrant place that warmly welcomes anyone who wants to make their home here."
Bishop Burton focused on Brigham' Young's words, "Drive on!" and said that just as Brigham knew the power of focused labor in an effort to stride forward, he was able to get to work and pull everyone together and left a legacy of individual industry and commitment to the common good.
"With all that's going on, wouldn't it be fun to show Brigham Young around town right now," Bishop Burton said. "He would be pleased to see how much we're doing to 'drive on,' to ensure that this city remains the 'right place' for our children and grandchildren."
Other participants on the program lauded Bishop Burton as a man of integrity, a hard worker who is detail oriented and a great friend, but Bishop Burton said is it his faith and family and the support of others that make "driving forward" possible.
"And so this recognition tonight comes not to me alone, but to everyone who collaborates in any way in all the good things that happen daily in Salt Lake City," he said. "It's fitting that we come together to celebrate what we're accomplishing. In celebrating our progress, we strengthen our resolve to preserve in meeting the challenges that remain before us."
It is the growth during economic hard times and investment in bettering the community that much of the project Bishop Burton is overseeing hopes to accomplish. It is through working together, that great things are able to come to fruition.
"The real and deep sense of community we enjoy in this city continually warms the cockles of my heart," he said. "We can find common ground. We can help each other. We can 'drive on' together. No matter our differences, we can reach across them and build our city. Together we can continue to make this a great place, a beautiful place, a caring place, a place to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience, a place of mutual respect and, indeed, the right place. …
"The true 'giant in our city' is all of us, hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, coming together to do good things, to do hard things, and to do them in a way that blesses this community and all its residents and institutions. Drive on!"