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Davis Journal

Bringing hope to Utah’s Native Americans

Jun 17, 2021 12:35PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

The Summers (in green) delivered supplies to the Halchita Village as part of their visits to Native Americans in Utah.

In the small village of Halchita on the Navajo Reservation of southeastern Utah, you can find evidence of the passion and caring of a Bountiful couple. Almost every one of Halchita’s 300 residents have been affected in a positive way by the generosity of Paul and Helen Summers, and the Bountiful Rotary Club.

Since March of 2020, Paul, who chairs the Utah Rotary Club’s District 5420 Native American Initiative, along with Helen, has helped to organize and transport thousands of pounds of food and cleaning supplies to Halchita as well as to White Mesa Utes, Hopi and other tribes of the Navajo Nation. 

“They were also involved in the delivery of millions of pounds of firewood distributed to most of Utah’s 11 tribal communities following the windstorm of Sept. 8,” said Linda Sappington of St. George, who is the current Utah Rotary District Governor. She selected Paul for his assignment on the Initiative, which includes a total of 18 Rotarians who work on gathering the supplies. She said more than 1,000 trees were toppled in that windstorm across the reservation. The Summers and other Rotarians also found support for the purchase of a dozen 275-gallon water tanks for those living in the area who were in need of water.

“My wife and I have always had a love for visiting and helping those who live in the Navajo Nation,” he said. “We’ve taken numerous trips and we love how our efforts meld with the theme of Rotary – ‘service above self.’ We are just trying to do our part.”

Those trips were made in the midst of the pandemic, a time when the needs of Native Americans for food, water, hygiene and cleaning supplies were great. Recently, the Summers and Rotarians from 15 of the state’s 46 clubs delivered more than 3,300 new shirts, pants and shorts, valued at $72,000, to tribal members and to homeless shelters and other non-profits in Utah.

Sappington said other tribal locations in Utah where Rotary has delivered supplies include Montezuma Creek, Red Mesa, Oljito, Mexican Hat and Navajo Mountain.

Summers said the trips are strenuous, but said he’s pleased to have the opportunity to help. His work was recognized when he was named Utah Rotarian of the Year for 2020-21 by the state’s Rotary Club membership (see story in our May 21 issue, which you can find online at in our archives section). There may be other trips and projects in the works as well, he said.