Utah Mother of the Year: 'We need mothers’ voices out there'


Born and raised in Weber County, Utah, Jan Zogmaister has always wanted to be a mother. “My kids would always say, ‘What did you always want to be, Mom?’ And I would always say, ‘A mother.’ ”

Sister Zogmaister, who is a member of the Country View Ward, Kanesville Utah Stake, was recently honored as Utah's Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc.

She and her husband, Darrow, met at Ben Lomond High School. “He graduated the year before I did. That winter we were married and had a family [almost] immediately. We didn’t wait.” They had five daughters, fitting since Sister Zogmaister is one of five sisters. The principles of the gospel is the centerpoint of her home, she said. “I knew that I just couldn’t raise my kids without [the Church]. ... I could not do what I do without the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

After her father became unable to run the family store, the Zogmaisters inherited National Battery Sales. “I never thought I’d work in the family business,” Sister Zogmaister said, but soon after her husband started working there in 1987, she joined him. “That’s a challenge to work 24/7 with your companion. We’ve been able to work it out. We both have different skill sets; they’re complementary. Our focus is the same.” Some of their daughters and sons-in-law also work with them. “I’ve always taken the attitude that I would run it professionally and be fair; regardless of if you’re family or not, we expect you to work hard,” she said.

Through working in business, Sister Zogmaister also became involved in legislation. “It’s more effective to work with legislation before it becomes law.” Because of a desire to give back to the community, she ran for office. “The first time I ran, I was not elected,” she said. “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. The next time I ran, it was for county commissioner, which was a full-time job.” She served for two terms, or eight years.

As county commissioner, she began the Second Chance program, which focused on providing housing for women coming out of drug treatment programs. “These were women who abused prescription drugs and were mothers. They completed the treatment program with their children and then they coudn’t get housing,” she explained. “We put together a program to hold them accountable. They had to work, be responsible with their children, stay clean. It gave them an opportunity. You would not believe these women, how incredibly motivated they were that they could have safe, affordable housing, which would allow them to keep their children.”

Sister Zogmaister serves as the first counselor in the stake Relief Society presidency. She also serves on the board of the Sutherland Institute and has been working to bring the World Congress of Families to the United States for the first time this October.

“I think we need to have more moms stepping out and helping their communities because they have great skills: multitasking, collaboration, problem solving — all these things you need to be a mother,” Sister Zogmaister said. “We so need the influence of mothers in our community. Everything affects home and family. We need mothers’ voices out there. We need them to speak up and add their voices to all the other voices.”

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