News Release

Church Bestows the 2018 Family Values Award to a Selfless Retired Medical Doctor

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ) believes in the family as the fundamental unit in Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. For this reason, the Church not only supports but also recognizes efforts of individuals and institutions that help strengthen the family by conferring the Family Values Awards.

Now on its 12th year, the Church of Jesus Christ presented the 2018 Family Values Award to Dr. Rosario de Guzman Itchon in recognition of her efforts to give indigent families a chance for a better life through her shelter called the Divine Mercy Family Community Outreach. 

Held on 26 October 2018 at the Cultural Hall of the Church's Urdaneta Stake (Diocese) Center, Dr. Itchon accepted the award in an intimate ceremony attended by leaders of the Church, her dear friends and relatives, and the beneficiaries of her goodness and generosity.

Elder Evan A. Schmutz and Elder Michael John U. Teh, members of the Philippines Area Presidency, and their wives Sister Cindy Schmutz and Sister Grace Teh, presented the family statue and the framed Family: A Proclamation to the World statement to Dr. Itchon. Most Reverend Jacinto A. Jose, Bishop of Urdaneta, co-presented the certificate to Dr. Rosario. Elder Weatherford T. Clayton, General Authority Seventy of the Church, and his wife Sister Clayton, also presented the Hansen statue of the family reading the scriptures together to the 86-year-old retired doctor.

To show their deep gratitude and love for Dr. Itchon, each of the 30 young children present, donned in their Celadon green ‘Thank You’ t-shirts, handed one long-stemmed rose to her. A young mother also gave a rendition of the song Thanks to You as her way of expressing gratitude to the doctor’s benevolence.

In accepting the award, Dr. Itchon thanked the Church for the recognition but gave the honor to Heavenly Father. "It's really not my honor, but it's God's," she said meekly. "It's God who let me do all these things. It's His permitting will that I could do all these things."

"We are created by one God, so we are all brothers and sisters," she explained as to the reason she's being selfless and charitable to the poor and needy. 

Bishop Jose, in his keynote message, talked about the importance of families. He compared the family to the word 'heart', explaining that a family needs five things to be strong. Bishop Jose drew from his own personal experience with his family as he taught about some principles that can strengthen the home. He said the family should be able to experience what it means to be happy. "Happiness is best attained when you are able to serve others," he said. 

He further explained that a family can become strong when they strive to be the best persons God has planned them to be. He also shared that families should be active, responsive and responsible, and "trusting to God and trustworthy" to be a blessing to everyone. 

At the conclusion of the awarding ceremony, Elder Schmutz read the 8th paragraph of the Family: A Proclamation to the Worldexplaining the essence of a marriage between a man and a woman, the birth of children within the bonds of matrimony, the responsibilities of parents to their children, and the fidelity of husbands and wives to their marital vows. He said, "It represents the pattern of heaven" and that it is "what God would have us do." However, he explained that not everyone has a father and mother who stand at the head of the home, or siblings that support and care for each other. He said that not all parents can afford to provide the basic needs for their children. "That is why we have women like Dr. Itchon to set an example for us," he said. 

"We know that from small and simple beginnings, great things happen," he testified, inviting everyone present at the event to reach out, provide hope and joy, and a path for everyone to be an influence for good. 

The Church of Jesus Christ confers the Family Values Award to upstanding community leaders and institutions to recognize their honorable efforts that advance standards and values consistent with the Church’s position on the sanctity of the family.  The Church presents it annually to community leaders and organizations in many parts of the world. 

Photo Credit: Dan Oximas

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