November 09, 2018

Crapo Honors 16 Idaho Veterans & Volunteers With Spirit of Freedom Award

Nominated By Veterans' Organizations, Award Honors Those Who Continue to Serve Idaho's Greater Veterans Community

WASHINGTON - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today announced 16 Idahoans will be recognized with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom: Idaho Veterans Service Award.  Individuals are nominated by veterans’ organizations for serving our nation and military veterans across Idaho for this annual award. 

The award, began by Crapo in 2002, is a small way to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of Idaho’s veterans and volunteers to the wider Idaho veterans’ community.  Each Spirit of Freedom Award recipient will receive a certificate for their service as well as a United States flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol building.  The nominations for the Spirit of Freedom Award are made by a number of veterans’ organizations, including the Idaho State Veterans Homes in Boise, Pocatello and Lewiston, the American Legion Post 113, the Department of Idaho Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Idaho Veterans Assistance League, the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Baker-Lind Post 3913, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Idaho State Council. 

“The Spirit of Freedom Awards recognize our veterans and the volunteers who set an example of leadership and service in our communities and across our state,” said Crapo.  “Often, many of these veterans and volunteers quietly serve others, without receiving recognition for the valuable and selfless service they provide others.  The Spirit of Freedom Award is an opportunity for all Idahoans, as a community, to collectively say ‘thank you’ to the women and men who continue to serve their fellow Idahoans.” 

Submissions for the 2019 Spirit of Freedom Service Award can be made by contacting Courtney Lehosit in Crapo’s Boise office. 

Members of Senator Crapo’s staff will present the Spirit of Freedom Awards during these events across Idaho. 

Boise – Nine SOF awardees will be honored at this event

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Idaho State Veterans Home

320 Collins Road

11:00 AM Mountain Time

Scheduled to be honored are LeRoy Barker, Ned Barker, Virginia Carmonne, Sharon Clark, Thomas Gase, Robert “Kappy” Kappmeyre, Steve Wheatley, Karl Wheeler, and Daniel “Danny” Pugmire 

Lewiston – Two SOF awardees will be honored at this location

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Idaho State Veterans Home

821 21st Avenue

2:00 PM Pacific Time

Scheduled to be honored are Charles Deobald and Bob Ouderkerken 

Pocatello – Four SOF awardees will be honored at this location

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Idaho State Veterans Home

1957 Alvin Ricken Dr.

2:30 PM Mountain Time

Scheduled to be honored are Michael Lagueux, Leo Olsen, Donald Worthylake and Daniel Wyckoff 

Senator Crapo’s staff will also attend these other Veterans Day events. 

Twin Falls

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Twin Falls City Park

400 & 500 block of Shoshone Street East

11:00 AM Mountain Time 

Hayden

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hayden City Hall

8930 North Government Way

11:00 AM Pacific Time 

Rexburg

Friday, November 9, 2018

Madison High School

2300 University Blvd

10:00 AM Mountain Time 

Idaho Falls

Friday, November 9, 2018

WWI Memorial

520 Memorial Drive

11:00 AM Mountain Time 

Senator Crapo’s staff already attended the following event.

Firth High School

Thursday, November 8, 2018

101 N Park Ave

Firth, ID 83236

10:00 AM Mountain Time 

The following biographies for each of the recipients highlight their significant contributions to our country and its veterans. 

Veterans: 

  • Ned M. Barker, Eagle:  The State of Idaho Department for the Military Order of the Purple Heart nominated Ned Barker, who was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, and served for decades in the U.S. Army.  His extensive, admirable service includes deployment to Vietnam, assignments in Korea and many earned honors that include the Silver Star; the Bronze Star with “V” Devise and 1st Oak Leaf Cluster; and the Purple Heart.  After his military retirement, his work involved directing logistics and quality for a manufacturer of test instrumentation for the U.S. Military and international customers.  Then, he and his wife of 52 years, thankfully, chose to make Boise home, where he continues to support fellow veterans and serves as the Commander for the State of Idaho Department for the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  I thank Ned Barker for his immense service to our nation and his fellow veterans, and welcome the opportunity to honor him with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award.     

  • Charles E. Deobald, Kendrick:  The Idaho State Veterans Home—Lewiston nominated Charles Deobald, who enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a Combat Medic in World War II.  Charles, who is 93 years old, was on Omaha Beach during D-Day and continued to help a wounded comrade get to safety despite enduring his own gunshot wounds.  He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his distinguished service.  Following his service, he returned to Kendrick, married Bette Oylear, and they had two sons, Denny and Jed.  Charles’ service to our nation did not end with the war, as he later served in the Reserves.  He has been an active member of the Kendrick community, where he ran the family service station with his brother and served as Mayor.  Thank you, Charles, for your service to our nation and your remarkable leadership.  It is an honor to recognize Charles Deobald with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award.  

  • Thomas Gase, Meridian:  Tom Gase is a veteran of the Vietnam War who has dedicated many years to military service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, Idaho Army National Guard and Ready Reserves, and he earned a number of honors for his distinguished service.  Tom’s civilian career includes working several years in the pre-cast concreate industry.  When nominating Tom for this award, Robert C. Seal, of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Idaho State Council, wrote, “Tom Gase is a true American patriot who is totally dedicated to assisting veterans and their families.”  From establishing a local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, to helping make the Vietnam Memorial Monument in the Idaho Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boise a reality, to providing holiday meals and much more, Tom works to meet needs in the community.  Thank you, Tom Gase, for your dedicated service to our nation and ongoing service in the community.  Recognizing Tom Gase’s outstanding service with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is a great honor. 
  • Robert “Kappy” Kappmeyer, Meridian:  The Idaho State Veterans Home—Boise, where Kappy volunteers and uses his business talents to assist fellow veterans, nominated him for this honor.  Kappy’s nomination reads, “Kappy’s heart has no limits in giving back to his community.”  Kappy joined the Army Reserves in 1963 and served in a Special Forces intelligence unit in the Vietnam War.  After his honorable discharge in 1968, his civilian career included more than 30 years in the music industry operating his music label and booking agency; racing thoroughbreds; running his consulting business; and directing a foundation before his retirement in 2003 and move to Boise.  Kappy and Karla, his wife of 46 years, are surrounded by family, including seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  Robert Kappmeyer, thank you for lending your time and extensive talents to serving our nation and helping fellow servicemembers and others in the community.  We are fortunate that you and Karla chose to make Idaho your home.  Presenting you with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is an honor.  
  • Leo R. Olsen, Pocatello:  Leo Olsen was born 95 years ago in Blackfoot, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 18-years-old following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  During World War II, he was a radio operator and mechanic helping fly B17s in missions throughout Germany, Belgium and France, and he earned many honors for his distinguished service.  He and his wife, Betty Jo, were married 67 years before her passing, and they had four children: Kirk, Lin, Tammy and Kimberly.  Their son Kirk stated, “I am grateful for my dad’s service during the war, but the thing I am the proudest of about my dad is how he cared for and loved my mother during her 12 years of Alzheimer’s disease.”  His civilian career included his work as a barber for 32 years and his work as a Real Estate Broker in Blackfoot.  The Idaho State Veterans Home—Pocatello nominated Leo for this honor.  Leo, you have no doubt set a loving example for your family; friends; fellow servicemembers; Americans and allies abroad who live in freedom thanks to your service.  Presenting Leo Olsen with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is a true honor. 
  • Frank C. Dammarell, Kendrick:  The Senior Vice Commander and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Baker-Lind Post 3913 nominated their Commander, Frank C. Dammarell, for this award in recognition of his years of honorable military service and countless hours of outstanding volunteer service with numerous state and community organizations.  Frank enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1948.  He then attended Marksmanship, Advanced Infantry Training and Special Weapons Training in southern California before his first fleet assignment in 1949 in Asia, as a 3.5 inch rockets instructor.  Thank you, Frank Dammarell for your devoted service.  Recognizing Frank Dammarell with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is a great honor.  
  • Daniel Dale Pugmire, Nampa:  American Legion Post 113 nominated Dan Pugmire, who served in the U.S. Air Force.  Danny’s profound characteristics that are clear in his nomination is his big heart and great courage in helping others.  Danny is known as someone who runs toward danger to help those in need.  Matthew Wrobel of the American Legion Post 113 cited Danny’s numerous rescues of people, including a family from a sinking car, and a man from being beaten by a group of men with bricks.  Danny and his wife, June, have shared their home for months with those in need and have given their furniture to veterans without.  Danny is a college champion wrestler, who coached a champion high school wrestling team.  In 2012, Danny started the Idaho Veterans Garden in Caldwell.  He has three children, 10 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.  Honoring Daniel Pugmire with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is a welcome opportunity to express gratitude for all he does for others.    
  • Donald Worthylake, Pocatello:  When nominating Donald Worthylake for this award, Carrie Leavitt, with the Idaho State Veterans Home—Pocatello, wrote, “We can all learn from Don how to be engaged in our community, to serve others to make this world a better place for all.”  Don is a 94-year-old U.S. Navy Veteran who served in the Navy for 30 years on active duty, which included serving in World War II and the Korean War.  Don received many honors for his service.  After his military retirement, he worked as a bandmaster and worked in wildlife conservation, planting more than 1,000 trees for wildlife habitat.  Don has also written for the Soil Conservation District and Idaho State Journal, and he authored a historical book about South Bannock County.  He volunteered for many organizations and boards, including serving as a Volunteer Firefighter for McCammon, Idaho, for 20 years.  Don and his wife, Muriel, were married 67 years before her passing and had two children, Kathleen and Ken.  Don also helped raise his stepson, Stephen.  I welcome the opportunity to honor Don with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award for his immense service to our nation and the community.     

  • Daniel McCoy Wyckoff, Pocatello:  Major Daniel Wyckoff is a 93-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran who was nominated for this honor by the Idaho State Veterans Home—Pocatello.  Daniel first served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and later the Air Force.  He dedicated 29 years to military service, serving four tours in three different wars:  World War II, Korea and two tours in Vietnam.  And, the list of honors and recognitions he achieved for his distinguished service is extensive.  At one point during World War II, he and his four other brothers were all serving in the war at the same time.  Daniel married his wife, Betty, in 1947, and they had two children, Don and Beverly.  Daniel flew numerous military aircraft and taught jet fighting and gunnery before his retirement from the Air Force in 1971.  Then, he flew commercial, corporate flights before his retirement in 1992.  I welcome the opportunity to honor Daniel Wyckoff with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award to thank him for his exemplary service to our nation. 

Volunteers: 

  • LeRoy Barker, Meridian:  LeRoy Barker is a dedicated volunteer at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, which nominated him for this award for the compassion he gives those visiting the cemetery.  LeRoy Barker is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1962.  After his active duty military service, he earned a doctorate and had an extensive career in the research and science of plant breeding and seed production, that included his work as a professor of Agronomy.  He taught and performed research at universities in the U.S. and Nigeria.  Professor Barker has been an instrumental part of the development of staple crop varieties that are major food sources.  LeRoy and his wife of 62 years, Sara Ann (known as Ann), raised five children and have 20 grandchildren and more than 20 great-grandchildren.  I welcome the opportunity to honor LeRoy Barker with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award for his great contributions to the community, nation and world.    
  • Virginia Carmonne, Boise:  The Idaho Veterans Assistance League nominated Virginia Carmonne for this award.  Virginia has been an energetic and enthusiastic volunteer for more than three years at the Idaho State Veterans Home—Boise’s Canteen, where she is considered to represent the qualities looked for in all volunteers.  Virginia’s father was a World War II Veteran.  She was married for 33 years and raised two sons, one of which served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years.  Virginia is described by her nominators as someone who enjoys problem-solving and providing a kind ear for veterans.  In her words, “Veterans are special people.”  Virginia Carmonne’s volunteer efforts help honor veterans for their service to our nation, and I welcome the opportunity to express gratitude for her exceptional service through presenting the Virginia with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award.   
  • Sharon Clark, Boise:  Sharon Clark, who recently retired as Chief of Voluntary Services for the Boise Veterans Administration Medical Center, has dedicated her talents for more than 50 years to assisting those who have served our country.  Sharon started assisting servicemembers as an American Red Cross volunteer in the Philippines during the Vietnam War before her work in community and religious programs in Germany.  When nominating Sharon for this award, Robert C. Seal, of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Idaho State Council, wrote that at the medical center Sharon “put her heart and soul into administering the various volunteer programs and was the glue that held the volunteer program together.”  Sharon has enabled hundreds of volunteers to serve, as she created partnerships with groups and matched volunteers with their interests.  Sharon Clark has no doubt made a difference in many lives and enabled others to help.  I welcome the opportunity to express gratitude for Sharon honoring veterans through her life’s work through presenting her with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award.     
  • Michael T. Lagueux, Chubbuck:  Michael Lagueux served in the U.S. Air Force as a Jet Fighter Crew Chief during the Vietnam War and has volunteered for three years at the Idaho State Veterans Home—Pocatello visiting with residents.  Michael is considered to be an exceptional volunteer, who is very aware of others and their needs and brings joy to not only the veterans, but also the staff.  After his military service, Michael worked for Delta Airlines for 35 years and moved to Idaho after retiring in 2014.  Michael shared the following about what he enjoys about volunteering, “The value of my personal takeaway from visiting with these fine people is immeasurable.  I garner a sense of hope for a better future for our country, by learning about the past through the voices of these Heroes.  It is an honor to interact with each one of them.”  When nominating Michael for the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award, Carrie Leavitt, with the Idaho State Veterans Home—Pocatello, reflected on Michael’s ability as a fellow veteran to relate and communicate so well with veterans and wrote, “Michael has a wonderful way of bringing smiles and memories to our veterans.”  Thank you, Michael, for your service to our nation and dedicating your time to lifting others up.  Recognizing Michael Lagueux with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is a true honor.  
  • Bob Ouderkerken, Kendrick:  Bob, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, volunteers at the Idaho State Veterans Home—Lewiston, where he is valued as a dedicated volunteer always willing to help out even at a moment’s notice.  Bob’s volunteer efforts include helping the home’s residents on outings and assisting with Bible study and holiday events.  He considers it an honor and a privilege to spend time with the residents.  In 1972, Bob married his wife, Aunie, and together they have four sons.  Bob is part of four generations who have served our country.  Before moving to Idaho in 2006, Bob worked as a Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor in southern California.  In addition to volunteering at the home, Bob has given his time to assisting in many other efforts in the community, including serving on credit union and church boards and the Kendrick-Juliaetta Planning and Zoning Commission.  When nominating Bob for this honor, Terri Brockman, of the Idaho State Veterans Home—Lewiston, wrote, “Bob takes the time to listen and visit with the veterans at our home, and it is easy to see his true compassion for those he visits.”  Thank you, Bob Ouderkerken, for your service to our nation and fellow veterans.  Recognizing Bob’s exemplary thoughtfulness with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award is an honor.      
  • Steve Wheatley, Boise:  Idaho State Veterans Home—Boise nominated U.S. Army Veteran Steve Wheatley for this recognition.  Steve volunteers in the home’s dining room bringing residents to and from meals, passing trays and helping cleanup.  Steve says that he appreciates the service veterans have provided and feels honored to help them any way he can.  Steve earned a degree in Asian languages (Mandarin) at Brigham Young University and has taught English both in Taiwan as a missionary and privately and tutoring Mandarin-speaking students in Boise.  Steve has one son.  When Steve was asked about a particular volunteer activity that stands out for him, he recalled enjoying sharing in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration with the residents stating, “Everywhere was decorated in green, the Irish dancers performed their clogging beautifully and it was just a wonderful feel-good experience for all.”  Steve Wheatley’s volunteer efforts help honor veterans for their service to our nation, and I welcome the opportunity to express gratitude for his giving spirit through presenting him with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award.     
  • Karl Wheeler, Boise:  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, where Karl Wheeler is a respected and dedicated volunteer, nominated Karl.  James A. Earp, Administrator of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, wrote, “One of the many strong attributes that Karl demonstrates is his selfless service to continue to give back to the Veterans and their families by being the steward of military professionalism in honoring their lifetime of contributions and service.”  Lieutenant Colonel Karl Wheeler served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, including combat aviator in Vietnam, and he earned many honors for his distinguished service.  After his military retirement, Karl worked with multiple government contract companies in the testing, development and modernization of America’s missile technologies during the height of the Cold War.  Karl and his wife, Luella, were married for 62 years before her passing in 2015, and they raised their two children, Karl and Katherine.  Thank you, Karl Wheeler, for your service to our nation, fellow veterans and their families.  I welcome the opportunity to recognize Karl Wheeler’s exemplary dedication through presenting him with the 2018 Spirit of Freedom Award. 

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