OGDEN -- They were in the presence of high-ranking religious leaders and donors who gave great sums of money.
But it was the actions of a 13-year-old that spurred those in attendance at the Catholic Community Services' 30th Anniversary and Awards Breakfast on Wednesday to give a standing ovation.
Tanner Neeley, a Wahlquist Junior High School seventh-grader, is currently raising his third steer in an effort to provide meat for those in need and who depend upon the Ogden Catholic Community Services' Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank for their sustenance.
Tanner received a rock, to remind him of the ripple effect one person can have when they throw their efforts into a pool of potential, and a certificate for his contributions. But the reaction from the crowd was his real payment.
"Well, that's pretty cool," he said to the standing crowd of about 250 people as he accepted his award.
Tanner's simple speech was to thank his parents for driving him around, the sponsor who paid for the meals at his table and Dale and Terry Nelson, who donated two steers for him to raise as a part of his "Cash for Cows" project.
Tanner's goal is for others to make a difference, too, as they see what he has been able to accomplish, said Marcie Valdez, director of Northern Utah's Catholic Community Services.
"I remember his mom told me that many people were inspired by Tanner," she said. "I wondered how someone so small could make a difference so big."
The annual event, held at the Ogden Marriott Hotel, also served as a fundraiser for the Northern Utah organization that not only oversees the food bank but also provides emergency assistance to Utahns in need and equips low-income parents with baby layettes.
Receiving the philanthropist award were Alan and Jeanne Hall and their children. The Halls are the son and daughter-in-law of Joyce Hansen Hall, for whom the food bank is named.
The award was received by their son, Aaron Hall, who presented Catholic Community Services with a monetary donation, which was in an undisclosed amount.
The Halls are known for contributing to numerous area nonprofit organizations.
But Aaron Hall, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bishop, discussed small acts of service youths in his ward have performed at the food bank.
"Our kids have left that program saying this is one of the favorite service projects they have ever done," he said.
Also honored was Pam Parkinson, who received the community advocate award.
"This is a woman who does more before 8 a.m. than the rest of us do all week," Valdez said.
Parkinson, the food bank board chairwoman for the past year, also serves with various other area nonprofit organizations and has gone on overseas humanitarian missions.
"We have the most awesome community, and I am proud to live in a place where all of us can help all of us," she said.
Great Salt Lake Minerals was honored with a corporate partner award.
The business has volunteered to fulfill the food bank's holiday wish list -- to the amount of nearly $20,000 -- for the past four years.
This year, when needs were greater, business officials asked vendors to also contribute, raising an additional $13,000 to provide holiday meals.
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, offered the keynote address. He spoke about gratitude and its opposite.
"Help us to underscore not what we hate but what we love," he said.
Also speaking was Sister Stephanie Mongeon, of Mount Benedict Monastery, who said:
"May we be united in purpose, generous in heart and be empowered in the will of our Lord."