by Ski Ingram

In 1966 I moved to a house on the north/east corner Flagler and Clark, Redondo Beach California.  It was there that I met and became friends with Kenneth Gay Gallacher.  His father, Herold Gallacher, was the 2nd councilor in the Bishopric of Redondo 3rd Ward.  He was fond of telling us stories when Thomas S. Monson was his Bishop. This was about 3 years after Elder Monson was made an Apostle.

In April Conference 2003 President Monson told a story about Herold Gallacher.  President Monson told the story about how he had come to see him because he was inactive in church.  It was a hot summer day.  Bishop Monson could see Brother Gallacher sitting in a chair reading a paper through the screen door as he knocked.  Brother Gallacher without looking up said, “who is it?’   “I’m your bishop”, he replied, I’ve come to get acquainted and urge your attendance with your family at our meetings.”  Brother Gallacher replied “No, I’m too busy.”

It was years later that brother Gallacher went to visit Elder Monson, when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Brother Gallacher apologized for not answering the door those many years ago.  He told President Monson that he is now active in church and serving as the 2nd counselor in his bishopric. It was fun to hear that story from the lips of President Monson after hearing it from Brother Gallacher 35 or 36 years earlier.

in 1995 I received a call from a Deputy Chief on the San Bernardino Police Department. I wish I could remember his name as he was a nice guy and easy to work with.  I believe he was a member of the High Council in his Stake.  He asked me to be a member of a security team to guard President Thomas S. Monson during an area conference in Los Angeles.  Of course, I agreed to do it.

There were about fifteen of us in the detail.  We were all cops from all over Southern California. During our first meeting we all talked about how excited we were to have been chosen for this detail.  We had to go to four different meetings that last four hours each.  We had to learn about Executive Protection and all about the different people who wish to do President Monson harm.  It was very interesting and also very tedious.  The meetings were in a Stake Center in San Bernardino, about 30 miles from my home. It was a long day after working a 10-hour day and driving 54 miles from work to home.

At our first meeting, after we got to know each other, we began to learn about the many people who wished to do President Monson harm.  When I said many, I meant MANY, both men and women.  I was amazed.  We eventually memorized their names, their faces, and their particular threat against President Monson.

After becoming familiar with the threats, we began to work on how to guard President Monson.  We discussed the different positions we would have to fill and the responsibilities of each of those positions.  I was fortunately chosen to be up close and personal with President Monson.  My job would be to stand on stage with him as he spoke to the congregation.

The day of the conference Diane had to drive the family to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles because I had to be there early to prepare for President Monson’s arrival. My family was seated near the front of the auditorium so that close enough to the stage to respond if necessary. I was also close enough to walk on stage without trouble when President Monson began to speak.

We were informed that one person on our “I hate President Monson” list was seated in the auditorium.  All eyes were on him for the entire meeting.  When President Monson came on stage, I walked up and stood within four feet of him.  I was wearing one of my best suits with my Smith & Wesson 4006 in my shoulder holster hidden under my coat.  I felt like a Secret Service agent.

As expected, nothing happened.  After President Monson finished speaking, he was rushed backstage and into a limousine parked behind the auditorium.  I followed close behind him and stood there and watched him drive away. I didn’t get to talk to him or even shake his hand. 

Years later I was retired from police work and living in St. George, Utah.  In 2004 I joined the American Legion and served on the Military Honors burial team.  In 2010 I was serving as the High Priest Group Leader in the Eagles Landing Ward, Morningside Stake.  My assistants were Phil Hayes and Kent Staheli. My secretary was Larry Frazier. In May 2010 Kent was informed that his older brother Donald had a heart attack and had died.  Donald Staheli was the President of the Draper Temple at the time of his death.

On May 29th I was dressed in my American Legion uniform standing in formation with my rifle an M1 Garand, waiting for the funeral of a veteran to begin.  I watched as Kent and his wife, Susan, entered the St. George cemetery and stood near a tree.  I nodded to them and wondered why they were there.  I hardly ever ask whose funeral we will be giving honors to and didn’t in this case.  All I knew was that he had served in the Air Force. 

When I saw Present Monson and Elder Ballard enter the cemetery, I relegalized the funeral was for Kent’s brother, Donald Staheli. Now with President Monson there I really wanted us to do a good job giving Brother Staheli his military honors. I didn’t want any mistakes.   I am happy to report that not one person screwed up. It was almost perfect.  I was very proud of the guys.  All of our training had paid off.

After the funeral I walked up to President Monson, with rifle in hand, to say hello and shake his hand.  There was a woman asking the Prophet if she could get a picture with him.  Before he could answer his bodyguard told her that that was not possible.  President Monson overrode him and told her it would be okay.  She moved in close to the Prophet and took a selfie with her cell phone.  After she left, I moved in and shook his hand telling him that I had once had the honor to be his bodyguard and Brother Gallacher had been in the bishopric of my ward when I was a teenager.  I do not remember what he said in response.  It was a day good.

As remembered by Ski Ingram February 2019