Volunteers Making a Difference

by Jennifer Ann Mackley

The success of the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project is due in large part to our dedicated volunteers who have shared their precious time and incredible skills. This month we would like to recognize four in particular: Matt Kotter, Jane Johnson, Howard Collett, and Gary Crittenden.

Mandy and Matt Kotter

In January 2020, when Matt Kotter was introduced to the vision of the yet-to-be-organized Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation, his first question was, "How can I help?" He continued to step up and lead forward for the past two and a half years. In summarizing his experience he said, "President Woodruff was instrumental in the development of temple doctrine in this dispensation. We are beneficiaries of the revelations he received and additional illumination regarding the temple's sacred ordinances. As more of Wilford Woodruff's writings are transcribed, researched, and better understood, the rising generation are becoming more engaged in the Gathering of Israel. There is no greater work on the earth. It has been a great blessing in my life to be a part of the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation, such a wonderful organization with such an important mission."

Jane Johnson & Family

Jane Johnson, another member of our inaugural Board of Directors, served for two years and led three different committees. Her efforts to establish our Public Relations Committee and our Content Management Team were vital to our mission of making Wilford Woodruff's writings universally accessible. Jane says she learns by connecting dots. "I love mapping people, places, and stories in my mind and seeing the webs that weave them all together." Through her work with the Foundation, Jane discovered that there are Wilford Woodruff “dots” everywhere in Church history, connecting so many of our personal stories. While in the British Isles, Jane saw a "dot" in Herefordshire where one of her husband’s great-grandfathers joined the church. She said, "There, in places like Benbow Farm and Gadfield Elm Chapel, Wilford Woodruff changed our family story. In Preston, I felt a familiar electricity as I walked along the River Ribble in the neighborhoods where my own ancestor, William Clayton, likely first crossed paths with Wilford Woodruff. In the decades that followed, their paths regularly crossed in moments that ranged from simple to sacred. These “dots” on my web connect me to my family and to my faith. I am grateful William and Wilford memorialized so much of their lives in writing, offering each of us opportunities to 'connect the dots.'” 

Howard Collett

Last year Howard Collett volunteered to help edit articles  and ended up not only writing articles, but designing and drafting our monthly update to the thousands of individuals who subscribe to our website. The skills he honed throughout his career were vital to communicating the message of the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project. We will miss his stellar communications skills and wish Howard well in his new volunteer position as a Service Missionary working with the Missionary Department.

Cathy and Gary Crittenden

Gary Crittenden joined our Board in 2020 as our Audit and Finance Committee Chair. He then did double duty leading our Strategic Planning Committee, applying both his financial expertise and leadership experience to establish a great foundation for the future of the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project. Gary was passionate about supporting the Project because he believes that Wilford Woodruff's life and experience are effectively a bridge between the very early days of the restoration of the Gospel and the more contemporary circumstances that we live in today. He said, "The testimony that Wilford Woodruff  bears bridges that time period. I think helping people understand how we transitioned from the early days of the Church to the Church essentially as we know it today comes through the life of Wilford Woodruff in a way that is really extraordinary."

Thank you Gary, Howard, Jane, and Matt!