At Rural Day on the Hill, Sen. Ralph Okerlund and Wes Curtis were recognized for their unwavering commitment to the citizens of rural Utah with the 2019 Friends of Rural Utah award. To celebrate their contributions and accomplishments to rural Utah, the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board named them “Friends of Rural Utah.”

Sen. Ralph Okerlund has served in the Utah Legislature since 2009. Since his arrival in the Senate, he has elevated issues impacting rural Utah to new heights. He has a wealth political experience most recently serving as the Senate Majority Leader from 2013 to 2018.

“After 40 years of service with the leaders of rural Utah, this award is very gratifying for me and a reflection of the great people from rural Utah that I have worked with. I truly appreciate this award, and I am happy that I have been able to serve,” says Okerlund.

Wes Curtis has been an amazing resource and moving force for rural economic development in Utah for several years. Most recently, Curtis was the executive director of regional services at Southern Utah University and the director of the Utah Center for Rural Life and the Utah Rural Development Center, both housed at Southern Utah University.  

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized in this way by GOED and by my peers and colleagues. My associations with them have made my career deeply rewarding, and my heart and best wishes continue to be with them in their efforts to improve rural economic opportunities.”

The Governor’s Rural Partnership Board is pleased and proud to name Senator Ralph Okerlund and Wes Curtis  “Friends of Rural Utah.”