In the 1950s, a man in his mid-20s that had grown up watching WWII first hand said goodbye to his native Germany and went forward into a new life in the U.S.A. This working class man eventually married an American girl from Wyoming, became an American citizen, and fathered five sons. I am grateful to be one of those boys. My Dad is one of my personal pioneers.
In the late 1920s a farm wife from Illinois, living in rural Nebraska left the religion of her upbringing and joined the LDS Church. Although living on a remote farm made it difficult, she actively pursued her new faith and did massive amounts of family history research, long before modern conveniences such as computers (or even typewriters) were commonly available.
Later, one of her daughters served a mission for the church in Germany, where she came to know a young German. After this fellow emigrated to the U.S., they courted and eventually married. This would not have happened had not her mother become such a stalwart in the faith. My Grandmother is one of my pioneers. And so is my Mom, as she was the first person in our family to serve a mission for our church. It is unlikely that she and Dad would have even met had she not served a mission.
Today is a state holiday in Utah. Pioneer Day commemorates the arrival of the first major company of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Although it was a regular work day for me, I got to thinking about the people in my life that were pioneers. I owe them much.