November 10, 2009

Crapo Honors Spirit Of Freedom Recipients

Veterans and volunteers recognized during five events on Veterans Day 2009

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will honor ten veterans and eight volunteers tomorrow with his Spirit of Freedom Award during five different ceremonies around Idaho on Veterans Day. Crapo created the Spirit of Freedom Award to acknowledge the contributions, patriotism, service and sacrifice of Idaho's veterans and service-oriented volunteer leaders. He has worked with Idaho's veteran's community to present the awards on Veterans Day.

There are five ceremonies on Veterans Day, November 11th, where the Spirit of Freedom Awards will be presented. Boise will host the largest event beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the State Veterans Home, 320 Collins Road. State Veterans Home locations in Pocatello and Lewiston will also host award ceremonies; Lewiston's event at 821 21st Avenue begins at 10:00 a.m. local time and Pocatello's event at 1957 Alvin Ricken Drive begins at 2:30 p.m. The other ceremonies will be held at the Twin Falls City Park Band Shell beginning at 11:00 a.m. and in Coeur d'Alene at the Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens, 7315 North Government Way, beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Here is the list of the 2009 Spirit of Freedom Awards to veterans and volunteers:


Carlo J. Fenicottero, Boise: He enlisted 26 years ago and fulfilled numerous assignments throughout the world. He received the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal and a number of others. He is currently the 124th Air Maintenance Squadron Superintendent, 124th Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, Gowen Field, Boise.

Art Gimpel, Idaho Falls: He followed in his father's footsteps in serving his country, and retired after serving twenty years throughout the world. He has been awarded Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars and numerous other awards.

Robert S. Jackson, Jr., Twin Falls: During his Naval career, he served in numerous conflicts such as Vietnam, Libya, Lebanon, and Desert Shield/Storm. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including Sailor of the Year three times, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

H. Melvin Napier, Boise: He served in the U.S. Air Force; received National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He has been involved in the American Legion for many years, serving as Post Commander, National Vice Commander, Idaho State Adjutant and other capacities. He also served on the Idaho State Veterans Affairs Committee and the Brave Hearts Organization.

Victor A. Paul, Boise: He has served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, serving as a member of the Honor Guard. After his military service, became an outstanding volunteer for veterans, serving with the Boise VA Medical Center in a variety of assignments. He served as the VA Voluntary Service Committee Representative for the American Red Cross and has been stalwart in providing support for veterans in Idaho.

Kathryn L. Peterson, Twin Falls: She served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy throughout the country and the world. She has been recognized with a number of awards including Air Force Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medals in both the Navy and Air Force, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and others. She has been heavily involved with efforts to assist disabled veterans.

Clifford H. Rogers, Coeur d'Alene: He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He received Army Commendation Medal, the RVN Cross of Gallantry and the Meritorious Unit Citation among others.

Chester Kenneth "Kenny" Smith, Boise: As a member of the U.S. Navy, he served in World War II. His volunteer service at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery covers many tasks, but is always done with respect and honor. His efforts ensure that the cemetery is able to fully function as a sacred and hallowed ground for Idahoans.

Roy M. Weaver, Coeur d'Alene: He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and honored with the Bronze Star, World War II Medal and Korea Service Medal among many other awards and citations. His military service locations are among some of the most well-known for that war: Okinawa, Bataan, Corregidor and the Philippines.

John P. Wyatt, Lewiston: An Army Air Corps Sergeant, his recognition and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Campaign medal with three Bronze Stars and several others. He served throughout Europe during World War II.


Toni Gimpel, Idaho Falls: Daughter of a veteran, married to a veteran, Toni was inspired to serve veterans in her community. She has been active in the American Legion Auxiliary, serving in various capacities including as President. Her volunteer efforts include Girls State, high school training, homeless stand downs, food drives and local USO shows.

James C. Metzer, Mountain Home: James followed his more than 20 years of military service with more than three decades of volunteer service, totaling over 30,000 volunteer hours. His work through the local American Legion includes handyman jobs, bingo, baseball, Honor Guard and other service opportunities.

Vernon Perkins, Boise: A Navy World War II veteran, Vern's volunteer efforts at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery covers nearly every service provided. His goal is to maintain the hallowed and sacred nature of the final resting place for Idaho's military fallen-from the visitors center to the funeral services and interment.

William O. Reed, Glenns Ferry: He has made a difference through his tireless efforts in volunteering for everything from town revitalization and food bank distributions to blood drives and travel safety. He has put in hundreds of hours each year on VFW projects that have improved his community and the lives of veterans who live there.

S. David Shepherd, Mountain Home: For more than ten years, he has taken his belief of "brotherhood" to his fellow veterans through a number of organizations; helping with hospice meals, bedside visits, homeless programs and many others. He truly follows his belief that "serving veterans is my life's goal."

Debra Kay Staup, McCall: Through her work as an elementary school teacher, she has spent more than 25 years working to improve the lives of veterans, beginning with an Adopt-A-Veteran pen pal program she created in McCall. She has also volunteered in walkathons, remembrance programs and other recognition events for veterans.

Daniel H. Wise, Lewiston: In the short time that he has been volunteering, he has made his mark at the Idaho State Veterans Home. He is willing to do any task that will help veterans-from officiating at games and transporting veterans to organizing outings and entertainment events. He has proven to be the "go-to" volunteer at the Home.

James Thomas "Tom" Woychick, Boise: This award is given posthumously for the many hours of service provided by Tom, who served as the librarian for the Idaho State Veterans Home. He was always willing to help where needed and provide a listening ear to those who needed one. His outstanding volunteer efforts are greatly missed.