From John Hoopes: I am enjoying this series on Italy, as I was in the first group of missionaries called specifically to the Swiss Mission to labor in Italy. I was not in Torino (Turin) at the time President Benson came to dedicate Italy, so I did not attend the dedication. I was working in Piacenza at the time.
Later in my mission I was able to spend a day in Firenze with President and Sister Benson as their interpreter--I took him to get a haircut and to buy gifts for their grandchildren. I also spent time working in translations and put together the first children's hymn book and edited "La Stella," a newsletter that became a Church magazine. Eight years after I was released my younger brother, Fred Hoopes, was also called to Italy, where our father had served as a medic during the Second World War. My father, Grover Lamro Hoopes, has now had two grandchildren also serve in Italy. We wrote a little article, published on the back of the Church News, a few years ago about our father wanting to do missionary work but was unable to do so because of the war. His prayers were answered though, in that his two sons and grandchildren have been able to serve in Italy. My brother baptized Mario Vaira, who has served as a msision president in Italy and president of the Swiss Temple.