July 2
6:30 pm

Freedom Awards Gala

  • July 2
  • 6:30 pm
  • Utah Valley Convention Center


  • $50
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Freedom Awards Gala
A dictionary’s definition of ‘freedom’ provides its meaning from a scholarly perspective. It offers detail regarding the origin and root meaning. But what makes it something for which people will fight, sacrifice, and even risk life itself? The access to self-determination is a blessing and one we somehow intuitively know is worth the effort to achieve and defend. With freedom as the prize, individuals have summoned the courage to face mortal danger, act on promptings, endure separation from loved ones, and literally ‘walk into the fire’ because taking care of each other is just the right thing to do. This year’s Freedom Awards will honor individuals who have given meaning and depth to those seven letters, taking them from the pages of a dictionary into our hearts and souls.
Vicki Garbutt -
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2019 Honorees

MAJOR BRENT TAYLOR FAMILY:  Brent Taylor was raised in a fiercely patriotic home.  Like his four other siblings, he joined the United States Army National Guard.  To serve his local community, he successfully ran for mayor of North Ogden.  He and his wife, Jennie, teach their seven children that they expect them to find ways to serve and lift those around them.  Also, to be willing to fight for what is right.  Taking leave from his role as mayor, Brent left on his fourth deployment.  It was in Afghanistan that he was killed in the line of duty.  Brent, Jennie, and their children personify the love of God, family, and country.  Brent, along with his family, have courageously and selflessly made this sacrifice together.

CHRISTEL SAWATZE FOREMAN:  Christel Sawatze was born in Germany and recalls a happy childhood.  Things changed with WWII, however.  When it ended, the Red Army took over, pillaging and terrorizing the Germans.  Her family’s farm was burned to the ground.  Her father was put in prison, where he later died.  Christel, age 10, and her brother, age 15, along with their mother hid during the day to avoid capture.  At night they would return to what was left of their farm to dig up the barrels which their father had buried, filled with food and clothing.  Eventually they were able to immigrate to the United States.  Her love of America and gratitude for the freedoms they found here still burn bright.

TOMMY ASHER:  Why would someone willingly run into a burning building to try and help another person, whether friend or stranger?  According to Tommy Asher, Fire Department of New York, “It’s just what we do.  We’re here to take care of each other.”  On 9/11, Tommy, his brother, and his father, all with the FDNY, responded to the horrific situation at the World Trade Center.  Only twenty survivors were pulled from the wreckage that day—Tommy was there to help pull two of them out.  Beyond the 343 firefighters lost that day, 175 have since died from the physical and emotional impact of that period.  It is most important to Tommy that the sacrifice of those individuals not be forgotten.

Commander Don L. Lind

After leaving active duty, Lind was doing research at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland when the recruitment for astronauts intensified. He had the degree (including a PhD from Berkeley), the flight hours, the physical stamina, and a clean record with the FBI. In April 1966 Don was chosen as one of nineteen in the fifth group of astronauts. While awaiting his anticipated lunar adventure on Apollo 20, he was involved with the earlier missions, including Apollo 11 in particular. He helped develop the extra-vehicular activity conducted on the moon’s surface, the lunar seismic recording device, and he sat at Mission Control during the historic flight. When the Apollo program was cancelled, his moon-walking dream ended.

In 1985, nineteen years after Lind joined the space program—the longest wait for any astronaut, Lind flew on Spacelab 3 aboard Challenger. The 55-year-old was in space seven days, flying nearly three million miles. “It wasn’t the moon . . . but I was in space, which was my goal.”

Ticket Information
  • Tickets will be $50/person and may be ordered starting Friday, June 1.
  • Seating is open (no table assignments except for program participants and their guests).
  • Reservations are required.  Tickets will not be available at the door.
  • Orders may be placed by phone (801-818-1776) or by going to the Festival office (4626 N. 300 W., Suite 300, Provo).  No online ordering is available.
  • There will be a $5.00 fee per order for tickets that are mailed out.
  • Deadline for ordering tickets is Friday, June 25 @ 5:00 p.m.
  • Payment by cash or check preferred.  Credit cards also accepted.
  • Requests to meet special dietary needs must be made at the time of ticket purchase.

Firecracker Apple and Citrus Salad

Julienne Apple, Jicama, Citrus Wedges, Diced Tropical Fruit, Tajin Spice

Variety of Rolls Served with Red, White, & Blue Butter

Braised Boneless Beef Short Rib and Fried Chicken

Local Utah Cheddar Grits, Heirloom Carrots, “Buffalo” Roasted Cauliflower,

Broccolini w/Balsamic & Cider Glaze, New Orleans Style Bordelaise Sauce

Banana Fosters Pie

Graham Cracker Pie Shell, Banana Rum Sauce (cooked), Moist Butter Cake Layer, Banana Cream Filling Studded with Banana Cake Cubes, and Cinnamon Brown Sugared Whipped Topping,

Drizzled with Salted Caramel Sauce


Dietary options must be requested at the time of ticket purchase.

Gluten-free options:  Salad as served, Grilled Chicken replacing Fried Chicken,

Fresh Fruit Dessert

Vegetarian option:  Salad as served, Roasted Acorn Squash with

Confetti Vegetables, Fresh Fruit Dessert

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