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Giving Thanks

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

The many people in our communities who recognize needs and find ways to meet them are what makes Idaho such a great place to live and are among the many blessings to be celebrated this Thanksgiving.

Idaho is filled with extraordinary individuals who come together not only when tragedy strikes, but also to support others around them every day.  We see this in the way our communities galvanize time and time again in support of local and nationwide efforts.  From caring for families struck with illness or the loss of a loved one, to mentoring youth and spending time with those in retirement homes, there are countless caring acts daily all around us.

Nearly 15 years ago, I started the Spirit of Idaho Award to recognize the many acts of service happening in local Idaho communities that may not be recognized in other ways.  This award was created to bring attention to these valuable individuals, groups and projects.  The first award was presented in Twin Falls in November of 2000.  Since the first award was given, I have been privileged to recognize hundreds of deserving Idahoans who have demonstrated a commitment to improving their community and serving their fellow citizens.  Their examples of service are helping empower others.   

There is no specific schedule for making Spirit of Idaho Awards.  They are given for service to a community, and can be given to individuals or groups.  The general criteria for a Spirit of Idaho Award are that the recipient must be a resident of the state of Idaho and have set a positive example for the community.  There is no formal application process, but individuals who wish to bring some act to my attention are welcome to do so by contacting the nearest Regional Officeto share that information.

Through the Spirit of Idaho award, I have had the honor of recognizing a quick-thinking child who saved her brother from drowning in an abandoned well; a couple who has helped advance species conservation; the creator of a group that assists senior citizens with errands, heating their homes and more; a company that coordinated the construction of a home and additional assistance for an Idaho family in need; and students who raised funds to support our nation's service members.  These are just a few examples of Spirit of Idaho recipients and the many acts of service in our communities.    

This Thanksgiving and every day, there are many in our communities and our own families worthy of our gratitude.  May we not overlook their acts of kindness and shed deserving light on these good works. 

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