And often, the effort is driven by area churches.
That was the case last week as high winds ravaged neighborhoods from Layton to Bountiful and churches canceled or abbreviated their meetings, asking members to instead go out into their neighborhoods and help clean up debris left by the storm.
“We preach about love from the pulpit, but yesterday was pure love of each other,” said Corey Hanks, stake president of the Bountiful Utah South Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Monday of the effort LDS members and others from a wide variety of faiths put in on Sunday.
The massive effort, which involved 700-800 people from Hanks’ stake alone, was precipitated by reports of a second wind with possible gusts of 75 mph hitting Sunday night, perhaps causing additional damage to the already ravaged area.
LDS Church leaders in Salt Lake City left it to the discretion of stake presidencies in Davis County to decide if they wanted to hold regularly scheduled service, shorten them or cancel them.
Hanks said that at his stake’s Priesthood Leadership Meeting held early Sunday morning, they decided to cancel service in the wards of the south stake and send members out to clean.
Once in the neighborhoods, others, not affiliated with the LDS Church joined in the effort.
Reports of others joining in were common place throughout Davis County as residents felt the urgency of getting tree limbs, siding and other debris cleared away before the second storm moved in.
Hanks said he called Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson and requested the city open the dump. Other stakes also indicated they would use the dump if it was opened.
“It was a tremendous effort,” Hanks said. Just within the Bountiful South Stake boundaries, 200 fallen trees were gathered and taken to the landfill.
Once members of a ward or stake finished clearing debris from their area, they moved onto another area to help others.
“It was the greatest example of true brotherhood, of care and concern for others,” Hanks said.
In the south stake and in other areas many women, in addition to helping clear debris, provided hot chocolate, soup, chili or stew to those working out in the cold.
The effort wasn’t limited to Bountiful. In Centerville, City Manager Steve Thacker figured the effort there, mainly by church members, saved the city between $100,000 and $200,000.
But beyond the monetary savings, Thacker said the effort showed the high quality of the community, a “strong social infrastructure.”
And Davis County Commissioner John Petroff praised the effort, saying, “I think the people of Davis County set the example for service to one another all across the county.”
He said he watched people at the Davis County landfill unload a trailer, then help others unload theirs.
Petroff said a number of members from Young Adult LDS wards volunteered to unload the trailers of older people at the landfill.
“These kids would just surround that trailer and in a couple of minutes, it would be unloaded,” he said. “It was cold and a lot of work. There was so much relief on people’s faces.”