Melanie K. Tidwell
Decades ago Melanie Tidwell sat with her husband, Marty, in the living room of their home in Aloha, Oregon. They shared the only piece of furniture—a wooden rocking chair, a family heirloom. The room was empty, not because they preferred it that way, but because they desired to have children more than furnishings. You see, they had adopted two sons (years later they welcomed a daughter by the same means) and the exorbitant fees associated with the adoptions precluded them from having anything beyond the basics. To help with expenses Melanie made good use of the Master of Communicative Disorders degree she earned at Brigham Young University by working as a speech therapist for the Head Start preschool program.
As Melanie sat on Marty’s lap in the old rocking chair, she talked about her dream to someday become involved in humanitarian work. She didn’t know how or where, but Melanie had a distinct feeling it was part of her future. Her dream turned to destiny when Marty’s career in finance took the family on an eight-year adventure to Southeast Asia—specifically to the country of Singapore, a place that was nothing like Durango, Colorado where Melanie had spent most of her childhood.
After a year acclimating to her new surroundings, Melanie traveled to Cambodia with a friend who wished to adopt a child. Although the days spent in the orphanage were heart wrenching, when Melanie saw how easy it was to improve the conditions for the children, she rallied the support of LDS Charities, neighbors in Singapore, and family and friends worldwide. Their combined efforts helped fund medical testing and sponsorships for orphans making them eligible for adoption. They set up specialized rooms for children terminal with AIDS so they could live out their days with happiness and dignity. Several cargo containers full of donated supplies were delivered to local relief organizations. Medical missions were organized and English teachers were hired for children willing to study at the crack of dawn.
The old rocking chair now resides with Melanie and Marty in scenic Southern Utah where they continue to dream of the future while enjoying hiking, seeking out tasty international and gourmet cuisine, and performing and touring with the Southern Utah Heritage Choir whose mission is to bring people closer to Jesus Christ. Melanie’s other interests include wholesome humor, organic cooking, reading, and teaching women the ideas and concepts that have brought enlightenment and joy into her own life.