January 31, 2005

Spirit Of Idaho Awards To Be Given

Kimberly, Jerome Eden, & Buhl residents receive honor for service to community

Washington, D.C. â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will present four Idahoans with his Spirit of Idaho award at a ceremony to be held in their honor on Tuesday, February 17th in the Twin Falls County Chamber of Commerce Conference Room at 3:00 pm. The recipients are being honored for their efforts on behalf of others including veterans, children, and animals. Vietnam Veterans Boyd Nelson and Lloyd Dewitt of Jerome and Kimberly, respectively, have made serving the veterans and people of Vietnam a major part of their lives. The two assist in an effort to return American dog tags found in Vietnam to Vietnam veterans or their families. Through zip code searches, scouring the white pages, and numerous phone calls, a group of veterans have successfully reunited over 650 tags with their owners since 1998. The group has set up a website to assist in their search: www.canamission.com. In addition Nelson, Dewitt, and their families return to Vietnam every year to assist in numerous projects including: building a kindergarten, providing scholarships, toys, and food to poor families, giving bicycles to families without transportation, and funding a medical clinic for the children. Jacquie Law of Eden is a junior at Valley High School who created Project Kids 2 Kids, an effort designed to assist underprivileged children around the world. Law organized an effort in her school to provide canned foods, nonperishable food items, toiletries, books, fairly new toys, bedding clothes, shoes, and money to individuals around the world. The effort was so successful it was repeated at the high school. After the drives were over, they had approximately $300, 1000 articles of clothing, 40 pieces of bedding, 150 cans of food, 2 boxes full of nonperishable food items, 150 toys, 40 toiletries, and 30 pairs of shoes. On December 24, 2003 Jacquie and eight other volunteers distributed the items to the Port of Hope, Salvation Army, Valley House, Community Action, Safe Harbor and St. Edwards. Jacquie is currently working on contacting a regional representative from the Christian Childrenâ??s Fund to donate the money that was raised to countries the schools designated during their drive. Ray Gill of Buhl saved the life of two prized Shih Tzus that had fallen through a partially frozen lake one afternoon in early January. The owner of the dogs, a co-worker of Rayâ??s, had tried to save the dogs but had become stuck in the mud at the bottom of the lake. She then immediately called Ray for help. Ray responded by grabbing a large net, racing to the lake, and jumping into the water. His strength nearly gone from struggling in the mud and icy water, he was finally able to remove the dogs who were struggling to tread water. The dogs were then resuscitated with the help of blow dryers and heaters.â??These individuals exemplify the true â??Spirit of Idaho,â??â?? said Crapo. â??Boyd, Lloyd, Jacquie, and Ray have demonstrated a commitment to their community, and have utilized their individual strengths to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Idaho is a better place because of the volunteer efforts of these outstanding citizens.â??Spirit of Idaho awards are presented to Idahoans who have made significant contributions to their communities. The first Spirit of Idaho award was presented in November of 2000; since that time, more than 100 Idahoans have been honored for their efforts to improve their local communities and the quality of life in Idaho.# # #