November 07, 2013

Crapoâ??s Spirit of Freedom Award To Be Presented On Veterans Day

Veterans and volunteers to be honored at four ceremonies

Washington, D.C. - The Spirit of Freedom Award, in its twelfth year, will be presented to sixteen Idahoans, eleven veterans and five volunteers, at four ceremonies throughout the state on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo created the award to acknowledge the contributions, patriotism, service and sacrifice of Idaho's veterans and service-oriented volunteer leaders.  Since its inception, Crapo has worked with Idaho's veteran's service organizations to present the awards during Veterans Day ceremonies each year.  All ceremonies are open to the public.

Four ceremonies are planned this year:

Boise: Monday, November 11, Idaho State Veterans Home, 320 Collins Road, 11:00 AM

Twin Falls: Monday, November 11, Twin Falls City Park Bandshell, 11:00 AM

Pocatello: Monday, November 11, Idaho State Veterans Home, 1957 Alvin Ricken Drive, 2:30 PM

Lewiston: Monday, November 11, Idaho State Veterans Home, 821 21 st Avenue, 2:00 PM

Here is the list of the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award s recipients:


Brian Alspach, Boise:  Brian Alspach is being honored for his service to our nation and the significant contribution he has made to the lives of the veterans he serves.  The Boise VA Medical Center nominated Brian for this award.  Brian, whose father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, joined the U.S. Navy in 1987 and served for nearly four years.  He was stationed at Assault Craft Unit 1 at Coronado, CA, Amphibious Base, and then went on to serve as a Reservist for three years.  His unselfish contribution to helping others has been recognized through many letters of appreciation, and his other honors include the Navy Good Conduct Award, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.

Brian's career since his military service includes working for Alspach Construction and the Boise VA Medical Center.  He has dedicated the last 15 years to working for the Disabled American Veterans, where he serves as the National Service Officer and supervisor.  He and his wife, Cynthia, have three children.  Their son Sean is also serving our country in the U.S. Marines.  Brian's kindness and dedication have been an enormous benefit to the many veterans and families he assists.  He values their friendship noting, "It is hard not to become friends with the ones we help as the majority of them have a good heart and a longing to help others in need."  Brian embodies this spirit of giving.  We are blessed to have him as a member of our community, and it is an honor to present him with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.    

Elton Ankney , Lewiston:  Elton Ankney, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, is being honored for his extraordinary service to our nation.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Lewiston nominated Elton for this award.  Elton reached the rank of Technical Sergeant while serving as a flight engineer and gunner on B-24 Hs.  He was stationed in Italy during the war and endured the downing of two of the airplanes on which he served.  After the second airplane was downed, he was a prisoner of war for eight months until being liberated on May of 1945 after being held at Stalag Luft IV, a German prisoner-of-war camp located in what is now Poland, and approximately 84 days of forced marching throughout Germany.

After the war, Elton recovered from a knee wound sustained during his last airplane downing and was sworn in as a U.S. citizen.  He then went on to apprentice as a sheet metal worker, and he spent his career working at Lenore Grain & Seed elevator in Lenore, Idaho, and its successor Lewiston Grain Growers until his retirement in 1986.  Elton and his wife, Callie, a retired teacher, have 4 children, 13 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.  Elton's endurance and resilient service through immense trials are an inspiration, and presenting Elton Ankney with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award is an honor.               

Vernon Byington, Pocatello:  Vernon Byington's dedicated service to our nation during World War II has earned Spirit of Freedom Award recognition.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Vernon for this award.  Vernon was born in Preston into a farm family with six sisters and three brothers.  He joined the U.S. Army in October 1942 and served for nearly 3 years in Africa, Italy, Austria, France, England and Germany.  He earned 2 Silver Stars.  He also earned a Purple Heart and endured 10 months as a prisoner of war in Germany. 

Following his military service, Vernon had a career as a carpet layer and worked in a creamery, making Swiss Cheese.  Vernon Byington's committed service to our nation and ongoing strength through remarkable challenges are an inspiration.  I am honored to present him with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.

Daniel Michael Geib, Boise:  Sergeant Geib is being recognized two years in a row for his unwavering service to our nation and its veterans.  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery nominated Daniel for this award.  Sergeant Geib served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 377th Security Police Squadron, Accident Investigation in Law Enforcement.  Dan's unit received the Outstanding Unit Citation Award from President George W. Bush. 

Following his military service, Dan had a 27-year career with Kimberly Clark Association as a National Sales Representative for Idaho.  Dan has been characterized as an ideal volunteer who is a pleasure to work with, a great story teller, helpful, friendly, a good listener and someone who makes people feel at ease and is sensitive to the needs of others.  He has spent considerable time volunteering with the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, where he is greatly respected and appreciated by staff and the many families he assists.  He also works as an usher at the Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University, remains active with his Air Force squadron and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 63.  Dan and his wife of 47 years, Kathleen, have been blessed with three children, thirteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  The Air Force is a family tradition.  His son is currently stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in his 14 th year of service.  Dan's steadfast service is exemplary, and it is a pleasure to recognize his dedication with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.      

Steve Gilbert, Twin Falls:  Steve Gilbert is being honored for his significant service to our nation.  The Marine Corps League nominated Steve for this award.  Steve joined the U.S. Marines in 1967 and served for nearly six years in both active and reserve service.  During military service, he served a year in the Vietnam War and earned a number of honors, including a the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation and a Combat Action Ribbon.   

Following his military service, he went on to a career in law enforcement, and has worked as a Deputy Sheriff, Police Officer, a Court Security Officer with the U.S. Marshals Service, and he has worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  His other service includes his service as Senior Vice Commandant for the Marine Corps League and Junior Vice Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Steve has served our nation with distinction and continues to contribute to the well-being of the community and fellow veterans.  Presenting Steve Gilbert with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award is a great privilege.    

Boyd Henderson, Pocatello:  Boyd Henderson is being honored for his outstanding service to our nation.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Boyd for this award.  Boyd, who was born in Idaho, served in the U.S. Army under General George S. Patton during World War II.  He earned the rank of Major and served in North Africa, Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, Monte Cassion, Anzio Beachhead and Brenner Pass.  He was part of the first company to arrive at the Dachau concentration camp.  He was also held as a prisoner of war for five days in Russia.  Boyd earned a Bronze Star for pulling a fallen comrade from a mine field, and he earned a Purple Heart for his injury from a Russian mortar shell explosion.

Boyd went on to serve in the Army Reserves for 37 years.  He worked in his family's lumber yard and as a home builder.  With brothers and a brother-in-law who also served in the military, Boyd is part of family with a deep commitment to service.  Boyd has a 69-year marriage, and he raised nine children.  Boyd Henderson's extraordinary service is commendable, and I am grateful for the opportunity to present him with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award. 

Arthur J. Jackson , Boise:  Arthur J. Jackson is being honored for the service he has provided to his fellow veterans.  The Marine Corps League nominated Arthur for this award.  Arthur joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943, served in World War II and received numerous honors for his service to our nation.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor and received his first Purple Heart for his heroic actions when wounded on Peleliu.  In the citation accompanying the Medal of Honor, which President Harry S. Truman presented to Arthur, Arthur's "gallant initiative and heroic conduct in the face of extreme peril" were noted.  Arthur succeeded in wiping out a total of twelve pillboxes and "maintained control of the platoon's left flank movement throughout his valiant one-man assault."   This was one of multiple times Arthur risked his life to help others.  He also received a Letter of Commendation for carrying a wounded Marine to safety while facing enemy soldiers in the Cape Gloucester campaign. 

Arthur later joined the U.S. Army Reserves and served in the Korean War.  His other military commendations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, another Purple Heart for wounds received in the Battle of Okinawa, a Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.  In addition to his military career, Arthur worked for the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs before retiring in 1973.  Arthur Jackson has served our nation and his fellow veterans with distinction.  Presenting him with a 2013 Spirit of Freedom award is an honor. 

Henry R. Parker, Eagle:  Henry Parker is being honored for his extensive, outstanding service to our nation and fellow veterans.  The Military Order of the Purple Heart nominated Henry for this award.  He has served our nation and continues his commitment to others through his service with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  Henry served in the U.S. Army from September of 1967 to February of 1973.  During this time, he earned a number of honors and recognitions for his exemplary service.  These recognitions include, a Bronze Star Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal with a Silver Service Star, a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, a Purple Heart, a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal.  These are a just a few of the many commendations Henry earned throughout his military service.

After his military service, Henry continued to assist his fellow veterans.  He worked at the Boise VA Medical Center as a Social Worker.  He has also worked as adjunct faculty at Boise State University and as owner of a private practice with Brief Therapy, Inc.  Henry not only served our nation with remarkable distinction, but he also has continued to support fellow veterans.  It is a privilege to present Henry Parker with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award. 

Daniel Scarborough , Pocatello:  Daniel Scarborough is being honored for his extensive service to our nation.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Daniel for this award.  He served in the U.S. Marines for 26 years and earned the rank of First Sergeant.  During his military service, he served in the South Pacific for 31 months during World War II, and his brother also served during the war.  Daniel went on to serve two tours in the Korean War, and he also served for 9 months in the Vietnam War.  Throughout his military career, Daniel earned commendations for his service.  These honors include two Purple Hearts.  He earned one in World War II at the Battle of Okinawa and one in Vietnam. 

After his military service, Daniel went on to work as a correctional officer at the San Quentin Men's prison.  He worked as a prison guard while Charles Manson and Robert Kennedy's murderer were incarcerated.  He was also there when Johnny Cash recorded his album there.  Daniel Scarborough's great service to our nation is commendable.  It is an honor to present him with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.  

Chester Kenneth "Kenny" Smith, Boise:  Kenny Smith is being honored two years in a row for his enduring spirit of service and the assistance he provides to many.  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery nominated Kenny for this award.  Kenny joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 and served as a Fireman First Class during World War II, and he continues to serve his fellow veterans and community.  Kenny is viewed as the very definition of volunteer by those who have had the privilege of getting to know and work with Kenny.  Every day, Kenny visits his wife's grave, at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, before beginning his volunteer duties at the cemetery.  Kenny's extensive knowledge of the cemetery is helpful to visitors, and he is always available when assistance is needed. 

After his military service, he returned to Idaho and worked for Mountain Bell Telephone Company for 36 years.  He was married to his wife, Doris, for 55 years.  They have two children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  Kenny's dedication to serving others, dependability and helpfulness has earned the regard of those he works with and the families he assists.  He is always available when assistance is needed, anticipates potential problems and makes adjustments to avoid them.  Kenny's continued dedication to serving our nation and the community is admirable, and it is an honor to present him with a 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.

Robert B. Taylor, Idaho Falls:  The Vietnam Veterans of America nominated Robert for this award.  Robert B. Taylor was born in Boise in 1936.  He spent his youth and teenage years with his grandparents, first in Idaho City and then on a ranch in Glenns Ferry, where he graduated from high school in 1954.  He immediately joined the U.S. Marines and served in both Osaka and Okinawa, Japan.  Following his time in Japan, Robert served as a training reservist in Austin, Texas, as a Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor.  Robert proudly served on a presidential detail during one of President, Lyndon B. Johnson's visits to his ranch in Johnson City, Texas. 

Robert went on to serve with the 2 nd Battalion, 7 th Marines in Vietnam, participating in Operation Starlight, the first offensive operation of the Vietnam War.  Robert continued his honorable service to our country with two full tours in Vietnam, including one when he was wounded.  During his time in our nation's service, Robert earned a Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Meritorious Unit Gallantry Cross, the Presidential Unit Citation and his Combat Action Ribbon and the Purple Heart.  In a recommendation letter for the Meritorious Mast for outstanding performance of duty while on tour in Vietnam, his Commanding Officer noted that despite not always having the proper equipment to carry out his assigned duties, Robert used his "initiative, skill and ingenuity to accomplish any task assigned," and he recognized Robert's "constant endeavor for self-improvement, devotion to duty, cheerful outlook and 'can-do' attitude."

Robert was honorably discharged after 16 years of service and became a truck driver and heavy equipment operator in the Idaho Falls region.  He was happily married and lovingly devoted to, in his words, his "soul mate for 38 years," LaDonna.  Robert served our country with distinction, integrity and honor.  I am proud to posthumously honor Robert Taylor's service with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom award.  This is Robert's second Spirit of Freedom Award.  His legacy of dedication to our nation and immense service endures.  


Jackie "Jack" C. Crane, Meridian:  Jack Crane utilizes his experience and understanding as a Vietnam Veteran to assist his fellow veterans.  The Boise VA Medical Center nominated Jack for this award.  Jack, who has volunteered for three years through the Boise VA Medical Center and Recreation Program, enjoys interacting with veterans, especially those who do not have family who can visit them.  He states, "Being a disabled veteran helps me understand what they are going through." 

Jack was born into a farm family with three siblings in Bethany Missouri.  After graduating from high school in Aurora, Colorado and earning an Associate of Science Degree from Mesa Junior College, Jack volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army.  He received training as a lab technician and served at the 27 th Surgical Hospital in Chu Lai Vietnam in June of 1970.  Following his return to the U.S., Jack earned a degree in Management Science from Central Washington University and a Master of Science degree in Spirituality from Loyola University and spent most of his career as a water and wastewater plant operator.  He then went on to start the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store in Idaho Falls and became a hospice volunteer.  Jack and his wife of 41 years, Mary, have two daughters, Heather and Heidi.  Jack's service to our nation and committed service to veterans have earned the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award. 

Paul DeLong, Pocatello:  Paul DeLong, who was a Marine Corps Reservist for six years, is being honored for his dedication to assisting veterans.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Paul for this award.  Paul has provided outstanding service in the Canteen of the Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello for more than five years.  He arrives early every Wednesday morning to open the Canteen, anticipates the needs of residents and staff, reconciles the cash register, takes inventory, trains other volunteers and more.  Paul is recognized as serving with a friendliness and warmth that helps others welcome the day with positive expectations.  His daily visits with his uncle, Charles Lewis,  while his uncle was a resident inspired Paul to volunteer.  Paul's service is a reflection of his appreciation for the care Charles received when he was a resident. 

Paul, who was born in Bremerton, Washington and grew up in Denver, went to school at the University of Colorado and Boise State University.  Most of his career was spent working in health care and human resources.  Paul and his wife, Joanie, have three daughters and seven grandchildren.  Joanie and Jesus are his closest friends, and his hobbies include house and yard maintenance, helping others, reading, race walking and exercising.  Paul's dedication to assisting others and his encouraging spirit is a great blessing to the many he reaches.  Presenting Paul DeLong with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award is a great honor.           

Terry "Scotty" W. Gentry , Lenore:  Scotty Gentry was inspired to volunteer serving veterans to honor and pay tribute to those men and women who gave of themselves in serving this country to protect our freedoms that we all can enjoy.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Lewiston nominated Scotty for this award.  He has volunteered at the Idaho State Veterans Home--Lewiston for nearly three years and reads, visits, teaches Bible study and carries out other duties.  He considers the opportunity to give his time and effort helping veterans to be a blessing and the reward is returned many times over through smiles, a twinkle in their eyes and the many spoken "thank yous". 

Scotty's service provides lasting positive effects, and it is recognized as a heartfelt blessing.  This is seen through the acknowledgements, the shared prayer time, the gratitude and the many nods of understanding during the weekly bible studies he facilitates.  Scotty Gentry's dedication to serving veterans is greatly appreciated, and he is being presented with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award for his outstanding service to veterans.         

Kermit Morrison , Pocatello:  Veteran Kermit Morrison dedicates considerable time through many organizations to serving fellow veterans.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Kermit for this award.  He enjoys the opportunity to help others and assists fellow veterans because he has the health and ability to do so.  Kermit is the Chairman of the Idaho Veterans Assistance League-East, and he is always available when needed to assist with various tasks to ensure that the Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello is given extra activities and opportunities.  Kermit joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Buhl High School, and he served in the Vietnam War.  He served for three years in Army Aviation as a Crew Chief on fixed-wing aircraft, and he served in the Army National Guard for eight years. 

After his military service, he obtained a degree in Aircraft Mechanics from Idaho State University and wrestled for the university.  He also received his Airframe and Engine Mechanic's License.  Kermit worked for Rowland's Quality Check Dairy and Meadowgold for 32 years before he retired, and he has been a sports official for 30 years.  Kermit and his wife of 47 years, Nelda, have six children.  Kermit Morrison utilizes his experience as a veteran to connect with and assist his fellow veterans.  His commitment and focus on service are commendable, and I welcome the opportunity to present Kermit with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award.   

Patricia Truden , Boise:  Patricia Truden was inspired to assist veterans because she feels blessed to live in the United States of America and feels that without veterans we would not be as great.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Boise nominated Patricia for this award.  Further, she observed, "They deserve all the care we can give them.  I just wanted to love them up."  Patricia has devoted considerable time over the past two years to volunteering at the Idaho State Veterans Home--Boise.  She has helped with various activities, both in and out of the home.  This includes serving in the Canteen, assisting veterans with writing letters, and helping with car shows, motorcycle shows, the Idaho Veterans Olympics, shopping trips, movies, musical programs and more. 

While all activities are meaningful to Patricia, the Veterans Olympics stands out as one of the best activities, and she acknowledges that "veterans deserve more than we can ever give them."  She considers it a pleasure to be around veterans, hear their stories and be able to hug them.  She said, "I am so impressed with the veterans' dignity and self-determination under adverse conditions."  Patricia, your giving spirit and thoughtful service are immense assets to the community, and presenting her with the 2013 Spirit of Freedom Award is an honor.