Huntsman family keeps up holiday tradition at shelter

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and his family stuck with their Christmas tradition and served dinner Friday night to the homeless.

Neither recent shoulder surgery nor his recent posting as U.S. Ambassador to China deterred Huntsman from helping to serve more than 500 of Utah's homeless and hungry at the Salvation Army in downtown Salt Lake City on Friday night.

"Merry Christmas to you, my friend" he said as he greeted diners, patting them with his left hand since his right arm was in a sling. When a visitor asked about his new position, Huntsman described living and working in China as "exhilarating."

A popular Republican governor who left Utah in August to become ambassador, Huntsman, his wife Mary Kaye and their children have been serving Christmas dinner at the shelter for a decade, he said.

Homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson called the Huntsmans part of her "wonderful" volunteer team, and noted that the family members had voted to keep the tradition this year.

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