LDS supplies on their way to Samoa

Sitting in Tuesday morning's sun on the airport tarmac, the 150,000 pounds of relief supplies bound for Samoa bore product descriptions and the recognized logos of the LDS Church and Islamic Relief USA.

The most poignant markings, however, were the Samoan messages penned by cargo worker Tasi Toala, who helped load the supplies destined for Samoa.

A week earlier, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake and four ensuing tsunami waves devastated parts of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Among the nearly 200 dead were eight members of Toala's family in Samoa.

With a heavy heart and tear-impeded vision, he scrawled notes on pallet packaging — to be found when workers in Samoa unloaded the DC-10 jumbo jet the Magna resident helped load at Salt Lake International Airport.

"I just send my love to all of Samoa," said Toala of the messages, which included hand-drawn hearts, his name and his e-mail address.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, he excused himself and rejoined co-workers.

Toala's presence put a face — and an emotion — on Tuesday's shared effort by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Islamic Relief, partners for several years in providing, transporting and distributing humanitarian relief throughout the world.

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