News Story

Church Donates State-of-the-Art Mammography Equipment to American Samoa Hospital

Earlier this week [25 February 2013] leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turned over ownership of a digital mammography machine and a digital biopsy machine to the L.B.J. Tropical Medical Center at a special ceremony in the Center’s chapel in Pago Pago.

Representing the Church were Elder F. Michael Watson of the First Quorum of Seventy and the Pacific Area Presidency, Linda K. Burton, general president of the Relief Society, and Rosemary M. Wixom, general president of the Primary.

Representing the government of American Samoa were Lemanu Peleti Mauga, Lt Governor, and his wife, Pohakalani D.  Mauga.  The Medical Center was represented by Sandra King Young, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Michael Gerstenberger, CEO. Other board members and hospital staff also attended.

Mr. Gerstenberger commented, “This new digital mammography machine will save lives and time.”

According to Togi Montgomery, lead mammographer, “The old machine used film, which had to be sent off-island, and results were not received for two or three weeks. [The new equipment] will give results within a day or two.”

As part of the program, the Church leaders each spoke briefly before presenting Sandra King Young with a certificate of donation.  After her acceptance remarks, the Acting Governor was the concluding speaker.

Sister Wixom explained that she has two granddaughters, ages two and five, who each have a 50% chance of inheriting a cancer gene. “This event is very tender to my heart,” she said. And to the hospital staff she said, “I express my gratitude to you for what you are doing for our children and their mothers; for what you are doing for women.”

Sister  Burton reminded the audience that she belongs to the Relief Society, adding: “We try to bring relief where we can.” She explained that the Church is concerned with the general welfare of all people, in and out of the Church. “I know our Heavenly Father loves us. We are all children of God.”

Elder Watson pointed out that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in interfaith and community cooperation. “This donation is for all the people of American Samoa, as well as others who may come here from other Pacific Islands to benefit from its uses.”

Elder Watson noted that the motto of the Church’s Relief Society is “Charity Never Faileth” and the official seal of the Primary at one time was “Faith and Service."

He quoted President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, who said: “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere.”

Elder Watson concluded with the comment that Latter-day Saints strive to so live with this pursuit of faith and in the great work of serving humanity.

Sandra King Young responded, “On behalf of the board, management, and patients of the hospital, I would like to thank you for this incredible gift. We are a new board this year faced with recession and constraints of financial limits.  This gift is much appreciated. We thank you so very much, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga said, “Today is a remarkable day as we receive the biopsy and the mammography machines.” He praised the community service activities of the Church and said, “We thank you, the Mormon Church, for the many clean-ups on flag days and festivals.  Thank you for the service you have given us in taking care of the cemetery.  I see it [the cemetery] as I go to church.”

He also explained that he made certain to come early to the event out of respect to Elder Watson, a fellow veteran who served in the military during the Vietnam conflict.



Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.