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Smart Family Thanks Homeless Population

Smart Family Thanks Homeless Population

Posted - Apr. 10, 2003 at 9:38 p.m.



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Stacey Butler reportingAt a time when many of you volunteered to search for Elizabeth Smart in organized groups, many of Utah's homeless took their search to remote areas that few know exist.

Thursday night, they were treated to a banquet honoring their efforts.

Angela Smart, an aunt, says of Elizabeth, "She is happy. She is so happy to be home."

Home.

A word so comforting, so sacred. Few appreciate it like Elizabeth Smart and her family.

Few, that is, except for those who don't have a home.

"Everyone here is an extended family. All of us are part of the same family."

Thursday night in a sit down banquet, Utah's homeless were honored for their efforts in trying to find Elizabeth. Many searched high and low, in remote wilderness areas and homeless camps in the months following her kidnapping.

"They're very protective of children," homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson says, "and every camp we went into had a poster of Elizabeth Smart tacked up to one of the trees, and they continued to search for her."

Atkinson arranged the banquet. She fears Brain David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee have tainted the public's view of all of Utah's homeless.

"There was a bit of backlash when the kidnapper was found to be homeless. I just want people to know there are some great people amongst our homeless population," she says.

During the steak banquet at Salvation Army, Elizabeth's aunt thanked those who searched for Elizabeth, sharing a favorite poem and her gratitude.

"There is a destiny that makes us brothers. No one goes his way alone. And what we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own. Each of you, we appreciate, and the great work that went forth on Elizabeth's behalf," Angela Smart said.

Elizabeth is doing well, visiting friends and even school.

Thursday for the first time, Elizabeth visited her new high school. She's not attending classes but she is taking correspondence courses to catch up for the time she missed.

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