Spending Memorial Day in Service: Students Volunteer at the Washington D.C. Temple Open House

On the morning of Memorial Day, more than 40 Southern Virginia University students and members of the Buena Vista Virginia Young Single Adult Stake loaded onto a bus and traveled to Kensington, Md., where they spent their holiday volunteering at the Open House for the newly renovated Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Throughout the day, students and stake members volunteered service as parking attendants, ushers, and safety and security workers for the busiest day of the multi-month open house.

“I enjoyed seeing all the individuals coming through to see the temple,” said Severio Martin (‘23), who served as a safety and security volunteer. “They would make different comments to one another about what they were experiencing as they walked to enter the temple, such as ‘wow, this is beautiful.’”

Severio Martin assists volunteers. (Russell Watson | Marketing)

Over 15,000 people toured the Washington D.C. Temple and its grounds on Memorial Day, waiting in long lines with excitement as temple volunteers, including Southern Virginia students, welcomed and directed them with smiles and greetings despite the 90-degree heat. 

“As the sun pelted my skin and sweat was beading on my face, I could not wipe the smile off my face!” said safety and security volunteer Kate Huber (‘22) “Time flew as I said hello and welcome to hundreds of people as they were about to enter the temple. 

“I began to feel sad that there would not be time for me to go in,” added Huber. “Then I had the thought, ‘Kate, you have a temple recommend. You get to come whenever you want as you continue to stay worthy.’ I have the profound blessing that I can enter the House of the Lord on a regular basis.”

Leaving the YSA Stake Building at 10:30 a.m., the volunteers arrived at the Washington D.C. Temple in the early afternoon in church dress for training before dispersing to their respective assignments. At the end of the day, the students gathered on the steps of the temple’s Visitor Center for a pizza dinner before taking the three-hour bus ride back home to Buena Vista. 

The Washington D.C. Temple is one of the 282 temples in various stages of operation and construction owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was closed in March 2018 for significant renovation. Now open daily, excluding Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m to all who wish to attend, the public Open House began April 28 and will end June 11. Additional information is available at

Southern Virginia University Students in the Buena Vista YSA Stake at the end of their day volunteering at the Washington D.C. Temple Open House. (Russell Watson | Marketing)