A retired Salt Lake County employee will be receiving NASA’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. Patrick Wiggins educated thousands of Utah residents about astronomy during his career at the Hansen Planetarium (now Clark Planetarium), from 1975-2002. Leaving the Planetarium did not end his mission to continue in public service; he joined the Solar System Ambassadors, volunteer educators that spread the word about space. It is his dedication to this service that earned him the honor from NASA.
To put this achievement in perspective, previous winners of the Distinguished Public Service Medal include Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
And while William Shatner also received the Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA this year (well, I guess he did teach us about tribbles), the County Archives sends out a big Huzzah! to Patrick Wiggins on receiving this most deserved recognition!
The above image of Patrick Wiggins (third from the right) at work in the Planetarium in 1993 is taken from the Hansen Planetarium Historical Records Collection, housed at the Salt Lake County Archives.