November 09, 2011

Crapo Honors Idaho Veterans and Volunteers with Spirit of Freedom Awards

Awards to be delivered in Veterans Day ceremonies across Idaho

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is paying tribute to seventeen inspirational Idahoans this Veterans Day in ceremonies in Boise, Lewiston, Twin Falls and Pocatello.  This year marks the tenth year Crapo has honored Idaho veterans and volunteers who work with veterans through the Spirit of Freedom Awards.

"The sacrifice and resolve demonstrated by veterans in the face of challenge does not end with the conclusion of their military service," said Crapo.  "The contributions, patriotism, service and sacrifice of Idaho's veterans and service-oriented volunteer leaders are truly exemplary and it is a privilege to pay tribute to these inspiring people."

Spirit of Freedom Awards are presented annually to recipients in two categories-Veterans and Volunteers.  Nominations for the awards are made by a number of veterans organizations and the commanders of various veterans service organizations.  The awardees have demonstrated the spirit, resolve and self-sacrifice integral to our Idaho character.

The following are the 2011 Spirit of Freedom Award recipients:

Veterans :

Jimmy R. Berkley, Twin Falls:  U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam.  Worked at Amalgamated Sugar Company for thirty-two years.  Also awarded Spirit of Freedom in 2010.
William Thomas Cole, Pocatello:  Twenty-seven years of service in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army spanningWorld War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.  Receiving award posthumously.
Michael L. Grigsby, Boise: U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam.  Worked as an informational technology professional.
Joseph Michael Murphy, Boise: U.S. Navy, Korean War.  Worked as an electrical lineman in Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon.
Cliff Morris, Boise:  U.S. Navy, Korean War.  Farmed, worked on the railroad as a telegraph operator and worked as an auditor and underwriter in the insurance industry.
George G. Nickel, Boise:  Sixteen years in U.S. Military, including in Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.  Works with the Idaho Department of Corrections, majoring in Social Work at Boise State University with hopes of pursuing a career assisting veterans with readjustment to post-combat life.
Clarence Wassmuth, Lewiston:  U.S. Army, World War II.  Worked at a sawmill in Grangeville, ID and later as a farmer near Ferdinand, ID.

Volunteers :

Richard Cesler, Medical Lake, WA:  Four years in U.S. Air Force.  Provides assistance to hundreds of veterans via his work in numerous veterans organizations across Idaho, Washington state and the nation.
Rick Fairley, Clarkston, WA:  U.S. Marine Corp, Vietnam and Washington, D.C.  Dedicated volunteer at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston for more than ten years.
Ron Gray, Clarkston, WA:  Six years U.S. Marine Corps.  Provided ongoing assistance to veterans through his work with the Marine Corps League.
Nancy Grigsby, Boise:  Ten years volunteering in support of veterans, including volunteer work at the Boise VA Medical Center.
Loretta and Richard Hanft, Pocatello:  Husband and wife team volunteer cooperatively at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello.  Loretta runs the canteen and Richard serves as the assistant treasurer for the Idaho Veterans Assistance League-East.
Derrick Hawkins, Idaho City:  Devoted more than 600 hours serving veterans at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.

Sheila King, Garden City:  Volunteered at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise for the past three years.

John D. Lamont, Boise:  Volunteered more than 4,500 hours since March of 1999 at the Boise VA Medical Center.

Janie Schaut, Emmett:  Army nurse during the Vietnam War.  Worked to research and preserve historical information pertaining to all Gem County veterans, living or deceased, resulting in biographies of roughly 145 veterans interred in the Emmett cemetery and 56 veterans in the Sweet-Montour cemetery.

The dates and times of Senator Crapo's 2011 Spirit of Freedom Awards ceremonies are as follows:

• Boise, Idaho Veterans Home, 320 Collins Road: Friday, November 11th, 11:00 a.m.
• Lewiston, Idaho Veterans Home, 821 21st Avenue: Friday, November 11th, 2:00 p.m.
• Pocatello, Idaho Veterans Home, 1957 Alvin Ricken Drive: Friday, November 11th, 3:00 p.m.
• Twin Falls, City Park, Band Shell, Shoshone Street E.: Friday, November 11th, 11:00 a.m.

Crapo's website has a section devoted to the Spirit of Freedom Awards.  For more information and to view information regarding past recipients, please visit