Earl Smith's Story

“I needed to make a change....I wasn’t alone.”

Featuring: Earl Smith; Mari Smith, Earl’s wife; Glen Hardy, Earl’s bishop; President Bangerter, Earl’s stake president; Ron Keil, Earl’s DI job coach; Trujillo Amy, DI development counselor; Bill Bott, DI associate

Earl – My name’s Earl Smith. My wife, Mari—we’ve been married for 23 years. Five years after we were married, we had triplet boys. Being a father’s great. For the last 25 years, I’ve been a general contractor. I’ve enjoyed doing it very much.

Mari – He started out being a framing contractor, and he built million-dollar homes.

Earl – Business was growing. Things were really good, but we saw signs of things slowing down and then slowly just started running out of work.

Mari – It was becoming more difficult for Earl to find jobs to do.

The house payment is very important. We need to make sure and—

Earl – We’ll do that one first.

Mari – Pay that one.

Earl – We started struggling to pay the bills and just were scraping by and worried about losing the house. I was at a point where it was hard to get out of bed in the morning—not a lot of hope.

Mari – He would actually stay home and sleep a lot because he was trying to get work and there was no work available. And so a depression started setting in, and that was weighing very heavily on our family.

Earl – When people don’t work, it’s easy to get down on yourselves.

Bishop Hardy – The Church teaches that there needs to be balance in our life, and work is part of that.

Earl – I kind of realized that I needed to make a change.

Mari – That’s when we decided to go see the bishop and ask for help.

Bishop Hardy – Hello, Earl. Come on in. Mari, how are you guys?

Earl was going through some tough times. Just being out of work for anybody is tough.

Earl – I went and met with the bishop, and also I’m fairly close with our stake president too. In fact, I was meeting with both of them.

Pres. Bangerter – We counseled together, and in the midst of that counseling, we talked about Deseret Industries and its programs.

Earl – The stake president referred me to our bishop, and the bishop wrote me a recommendation.

Thanks, yeah. It’s good to be here!

Ron – When I first met Earl, I was looking at a man that has had success in his life. He’s owned his construction business well over 20 years, but here he was sitting in front of me at the Deseret Industries to reestablish himself. This is a wonderful program. We take a lot of different people with different backgrounds.

Trujillo – One of the great things about the Deseret Industries training program is that it is designed to serve all sorts of individuals—from individuals with limited vocational training and experience clear to people who have advanced degrees and just need to change directions.

Earl – When I got there, I found out there were a lot of other people there just like me, and they just needed a step up. They needed some help. It made me feel good. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this and we’re able to kind of help each other.

Ron – To make this work and to make it effective, you need to know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish.

Earl – It seems like most of the things seem to steer towards the medical field. At the DI, through the career workshop, I finally came up with the medical industry and attending the CNA course to become a certified nurse’s assistant. That was something that the DI was familiar with and offered.

Ron – Earl knew what he wanted, and so as a result, he was self-driven to achieve his goal of getting his certification in the CNA program.

Pres. Bangerter – After he became involved with Deseret Industries, his confidence level began to increase. He had a goal in mind, and he had mentors who were very carefully helping him along the way.

Trujillo – Your familiar career path of wanting to go into the medical field is basically perfect when we match you up with your vocational interests.

Earl – I went ahead and went down to the college and signed up and went to school. The DI helped me with that. They actually split the cost with me.

Now I work at Intermountain Healthcare as an orderly in the operating room. I work in the cardiovascular room, which is the heart room. I go and I stand next to the surgeon and actually hold the heart in there and help with heart surgery. Working in the OR is just way different than construction. It’s pretty exciting too.

After leaving Deseret Industries, I wanted to return and see if I could help out. And I found out that Bill Bott, another associate that I previously worked with, wasn’t working there anymore. Bill had become homeless. I helped him work through his problems and get back to the DI and, through that friendship, became his mentor.

Do you want to grab a bite to eat when we leave here? That’ll be great.

Bill – I can’t say enough about Earl Smith. He was the only person that, in my circumstances, did not say, “Well, Bill will be fine.” He wanted to make sure that I was going to be OK. He’s probably one of the most spiritual and most loving and most understanding people I’ve ever met in my life.

Earl – Yeah, we’ll see you at dinner. All right?

Ron – Earl, out of the goodness of his heart, showed us all how to do it. He truly exemplified the life of the Savior.

Mari – Looking back at this point and seeing Earl go through the program at Deseret Industries, it has been such a blessing in our lives.

Pres. Bangerter – It’s built on a foundation of helping all of us to increase our own confidence so that we, with that confidence, can then go and serve and strengthen others. It is the heart of a Christlike life.

Earl – I feel so much better about where I’m at now after going through the Deseret Industries program. It brings a lot of hope of what I can do in the future.