Wayne Post
  • Author Rand Packer visits to review his book

  • Historic Palmyra and Executive Director Bonnie J. Hays was honored at a special public program held on Jan. 17 at the Alling Coverlet Museum.  

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  • Historic Palmyra and Executive Director Bonnie J. Hays was honored at a special public program held on Jan. 17 at the Alling Coverlet Museum.
    Elder Searle, site director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke on behalf of the missionaries and their experience working locally and being welcomed into the community by Historic Palmyra and Bonnie as neighbors and friends. The word “treasure” was used often in reference to Hays who has been Historic Palmyra’s administrator since 1996.
    To celebrate this great honor, Elder Searle donated a large framed Anderson photograph taken in 1907 whose glass plate is held at the Churches’ Salt Lake City archives, of the center block of the north side of East Main Street known to many as Exchange Row which includes the Book of Mormon Publication Historic Site. The honor of receiving this amazing photograph and all the kind words expressed about local friendship and mutual working relationships were echoed by many.
    The event was completed with a visit and book review from author Rand Packer who wrote “A Lion and a Lamb”. Packer is the son of local 1933 Palmyra graduate Palmyra Bean, daughter of Willard and Rebecca Bean, who arrived in Palmyra circa 1915 and began introducing the local folks to the Mormon people and their addition to the community. Willard Bean was an amazing, strong, down-to-earth professional boxer, who believed in becoming part of this great community no matter what the odds. He and his family struggled to make ends meet and spread the word of friendship, as they lived in the Smith frame home on Stafford Road in the town of Palmyra.
    Excerpts of the book were read depicting the difficulty and trials of the Bean family and their struggle to be accepted within the Palmyra community. The success of Willard and Rebecca’s efforts were expressed by the friendships they made in their 25 years of life in this special area. Such friends as Pliny T. Sexton, Charlie Congdon, and Luther Sheldon were among those that were mentioned as good friends to the Bean family. Boxing matches were held at the “Old Village Hall Opera House” as Willard would take on comers and show audiences his boxing skills as a onetime United States Middle Weight Boxing Champion.
    Rand and wife, Shirley Packer, arrived from Utah for a whirl wind speaking event and brought with them stories and artifacts from his mother Palmyra Bean Packer. A donation of an arrow head found by Palmyra Bean on the Smith Farm was presented to Bonnie for Historic Palmyra’s Collection.
    Hays notes she was honored and surprised by this amazing recognition and expressed her pleasure of being friends with and knowing all these wonderful missionaries.
    “The only disappointment,” said Hays, “is when they have to leave, but there are always new missionaries coming back and friendships have been made for a lifetime.”

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