The 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be over soon, but for some—such as those University of Utah alumni who were selected as torchbearers—the excitement and memories of the Games will last a lifetime. The few featured here represent the hundreds whose stories and experiences will become part of Olympic history.

Of the 11,500 people who carried the torch across 46 states in 65 days—a total of 13,500 miles — dozens were U alumni, each with a story of inspiration and motivation. In many cases, the person nominated and selected carried the torch in tandem with the nominator. As Salt Lake Olympic Committee President Mitt Romney said at the beginning of the run, “Many of our torchbearers will be pairs. Runners will not just be passing the torch to someone they don’t know. It will be someone that inspired them.”

Amanda Andrus and Kristina Gray

Such is the case with Amanda Andrus BS’82 MSW’84 and her

nominee, Kristina Gray. Andrus, a mental health therapist in Salt Lake City, came to know 17-year-old “Tina” Gray when the girl began babysitting for her three years ago. Gray was abandoned in India when she was three months old and spent two years in Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Orphanage in Madras. After spending six months in a welfare orphanage in Calcutta, she was adopted at the age of two-and a-half, weighing just 19 pounds, by Nan and Ronald Gray of Stansbury Park, Utah. Her adoption was personally arranged by Mother Teresa.

In December, 2000, Tina decided to return the favor. After gathering $4,000 in cash donations and $1,000 worth of products, she returned with her parents to the orphanage in India that had housed and cared for her. She was able to meet with some of the same nuns who had been her caretakers.

“It is people like Tina that inspired me to go into social work,” Andrus says, “and I am honored to know her and to carry the torch with her.”

John David Ference

John David Ference BA’93 JD’97 is a lawyer with Campbell & Campbell law office inOgden, Utah, who defends doctors in medical malpractice suits. But to his partner, Richard W. Campbell JD’52, Ference’s wife, Marilyn, and their children—Sara, Emily, and Jake—he is simply known as “Dave,” an inspiring athlete who competes in triathlons throughout Utah and the United States.

In the summer of 2001, Ference completed three Ironman triathlons, each consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run. This included the world championships in Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, where he finished at the top of the Utah team in nine hours, 56 minutes and 52 seconds. Fifteen hundred professionals and amateurs from around the globe participated—and Ference finished 88th overall. He was named 2001 All American in the men’s 30-34 bracket by Inside Triathlon.

Campbell nominated Ference because he is dedicated to his job, his sport, and his family. Ference inspires others as he trains two or more hours each day, six days a week, while still meeting the demands of his family, work, and church. “His priorities are in order,” says Campbell. He trains very early in the morning so as not to miss his daughter’s soccer games. In turn, his seven-year-old daughter, also a triathlete, accompanies her dad on her bike during his five-to six-mile run on Saturday mornings.

Ference, who was named triathlete of the year by Utah Review, has “no racing peer in the intermountain region,” according to Campbell. “Dave inspires me by honing fully his commitment, yet finding time and inner resources to compete at the highest levels,” Campbell adds. He has inspired many others to take up exercise or the sport of triathlon.

Ference himself is inspired by his selection as a torchbearer. He recounts what a thrill it was this last summer to return home from touring the Olympic venues of the Lake Placid Games, filled with the Olympic spirit, to find a letter informing him that he had been selected to be a torch-bearer in the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Lisa Towner

Lisa Towner BS’80 would love to have had her golden retrievers, Hoop and Dunk, accompany her on her torch run, especially since they have been key players in her accomplishments. But since pets were not allowed, the dogs watched her run from the sidewalk, along with her husband, Steven, and their three children—and many other invited pets.

When Towner became a mother, she retired from her profession as a physical therapist. But through her affiliation with Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA), she has been able to put her skills into action again—this time with her dogs. For her ITA service, she was nominated to be a torchbearer by her husband and by ITA director Kathy Klotz.

Towner volunteers at LDS Hospital and Primary Children’s Medical Center, both in Salt Lake City, where she helps with rehabilitation of patients. Her professional training allows her to grasp the needs of a patient very quickly, whether it is in speech, occupational, or physical therapy, and determine how her dog can best be used with the patient. She then helps staff physical therapists learn how to take advantage of this type of therapy. In turn, the therapists say the patients respond better than ever when they have the pets to work with and enjoy.

Her first golden retriever, Yardley, was a permanent fixture in Towner’s physical therapy class through her training at the U. “Things were a little more relaxed back then,” she says, “and Yardley (now deceased) became the class mascot.” As her children got older, Towner decided it was time to start over. Enter Hoop (large male) and Dunk (demure female) who were raised, trained, and prepared for socialization by Towner. Hoop likes to retrieve items that patients throw, but becomes impatient if the item isn’t thrown far enough. Dunk, however, retrieves even the shortest throw from the tiniest, weakest patient, and is often found cuddled in bed with the children.

Towner was honored to carry the torch but says accolades should be shared with all those who participate in pet therapy through Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Pearl Butler Raty

Another torchbearing team was made up of Pearl Butler Raty BS’51 and her son Thomas Raty ex’85.

Carrying the torch was only the beginning for them. During the Games, they were witness to the product that earned Thomas the nomination from his mother—the United States bobsled team’s sled—as it carried the racers down the Olympic track.

Pearl Butler was a flight attendant for United Airlines prior to her marriage to Lawrence Raty BS’53 MA’70. While rearing four children, she taught and counseled in Salt Lake area schools for 26 years. She spent the last 16 of those years working with Youth in Custody, from which she retired in 1997. In 1960, Raty was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the State of Utah in health and physical education.

Thomas Raty, Gov. Mike Leavitt, and student

Thomas Raty teaches automotive and welding classes at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, where he has involved his students in building racing bobsleds. The bobsled interest began when Gov. Mike Leavitt challenged area high schools to build sleds and compete in the first Governor’s Cup Bobsled Race in 1999. Raty (at left in photo) and his students built five sleds; the most recent one was driven by the U.S. four-man bobsled team in the 2002 Games. They were featured on “The Today Show” and NBC Sports during the Games.

Raty has served as assistant coach of the U.S. junior bobsled and skeleton teams and worked with the U.S. Virgin Islands bobsled team as their technician.

Scott Hansen BS’75 MS’77 is a senior attorney in the Buckland Orton Darger Hansen Waldo & Barton law firm and is founder and president of Fund-Raising Council, Inc., a national fund-raising and development consulting firm based in Salt Lake City. Hansen was nominated as a torchbearer because of his extensive service to nonprofit organizations. He volunteers countless hours, using his knowledge as an attorney to assist with planned giving and capital campaigns.

Scott Hansen

He also volunteers his time as a board member to numerous organizations such as the Utah Society of Fund-Raisers, Repertory Dance Theatre, Ronald McDonald House, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and the Western Folklife Center. In addition to his volunteer activities and his full-time work in his law firm, Hansen is a “shining example,” according to his partner and nominator, Kim Garvin, “as a husband, father, brother, and son,” keeping family as his top priority.

Cheering for Hansen along his segment of the torch route was his four-year-old daughter, Madeleine (Maddie), and his wife, Peggy Norton. “The richness of my life is my wife and my daughter,” says Hansen, “and I think [Maddie] will always have a memory of this event with her father.”

Nettie Bagley-Pendley BA’59 is Continuum editorial assistant.