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Crapo's Spirit Of Freedom Award to Be Presented On Veterans Day

Veterans, volunteers to be honored at three ceremonies

Washington, D.C.-Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's Spirit of Freedom Award will be presented to twenty Idahoans this year-thirteen veterans and seven volunteers-at three ceremonies throughout the state on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11. The award, which was created by Crapo twelve years ago, provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding service to our nation of area veterans and the many Idahoans who dedicate extensive timesupporting those who have served our country.  Each year, Crapo has worked with Idaho's veterans community to present the awards during Veterans Day ceremonies throughout Idaho.  All ceremonies are open to the public.

"Many of the veterans honored through this award have spent decades serving our country and now give considerably of their time to befriending and lightening the load of their fellow veterans," said Crapo.  "Seeing this camaraderie that reaches beyond the battlefield and crosses generations is part of what makes honoring these individuals so rewarding."

Planned ceremonies:


Idaho State Veterans Home

320 Collins Road

11:00 AM Mountain Time


Idaho State Veterans Home

821 21 st Avenue

2:00 PM Pacific Time


Idaho State Veterans Home

1957 Alivn Ricksen Dr.

2:30 PM Mountain Time

2014 Sprit of Freedom Award honorees:


  • Todd Bramhall , Meridian:  Chaplain Todd Bramhall has built on his military service to help many veterans through his ministry.  Chaplain Bramhall, who joined the U.S. Army in 1969 and served during the Vietnam War, was nominated by the Boise VA Medical Center for this award.  After 23 years of pastoral ministry and experience in VA chaplaincy in Minnesota, Ohio and Michigan, Todd became the lead chaplain at the Boise VA Medical Center in December 2007.  He has developed an outstanding, clinical chaplain program and has helped provide spiritual care for thousands of area veterans. 

Todd served in the 815 th Engineer Battalion, 18 th Engineer Brigade like his father who served in the brigade in World War II.  The recognitions he received for his service include the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign Medals and the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.  After his service, Todd earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Warner Pacific College and a Master of Divinity degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary and began a career of pastoral ministry.  Todd and his wife, Kathy, have three sons and one daughter.  We are fortunate that Todd and his family have chosen Idaho as home and especially fortunate that he is utilizing his talents to assist the veteran community. 

Thomas L. Couch , Boise:  Tom is being honored for his service to our nation and ongoing service to fellow veterans.  He was nominated for this award by the Idaho State Veterans Home-Boise where he maintains the stock in the Fort Boise Canteen, serves in the Canteen and fills in for other shifts when needed.  He also assists with getting items for the Boise home, as well as for the Office of Veterans Advocacy, the Idaho Veterans Cemetery and the home's activity department.  Tom's ability to maintain accurate records of expenditures for these activities is appreciated, and he is considered a vital part of the home. 

Prior to this service to fellow veterans, Tom served in the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Naval Reserve and the Idaho Army Guard spanning more that 20 years collectively.  During his service, he earned a number of recognitions, including a U.S. Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Meritorious Service Medal.  In addition to his service, he worked for the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) for more than 40 years.  He and his wife have two children and two grandchildren.   

  • Gerald E. Feil, Sr. , Boise:  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery nominated Gerald (Jerry) Feil for this award.  Master Sergeant Feil not only served our nation for more than 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, he continues to serve his fellow veterans and their families through dedicating considerable time to assisting families who visit the cemetery or attend the service for a loved one who has passed.  He is recognized for demonstrating a great sense of duty and initiative by volunteering to lead the services at the cemetery's committal shelter and greeting and consoling families during their most difficult time.  Jerry also worked with his friend and fellow volunteer Terry to construct a new temporary reader board that is considered to be a great asset to the cemetery and has greatly improved the experience for families. 

Jerry joined the U.S. Air Force in 1964 and served until 1984.  For his distinguished service, Jerry has earned a Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal with six Oak Leaves and the National Defense Service Medal.  Jerry also operated a lawn care business for 10 years and spent 14 years as a Rack Maintenance and Repairman for a local newspaper.  He and his wife of 44 years, Charlene, have two children and two grandchildren. 

  • William Arnold Ferrin , Pocatello:  William Arnold Ferrin, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1961 and served for six years, is being honored for his remarkable service to our nation.  He served as the plane captain in a shore patrol squadron in the Vietnam War and was injured twice.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated him for this award.  After his military service, Arnold, who was born in Casper, Wyoming, lived in Albany, Oregon where he worked as carpenter for 18 years until retiring and returning to his home in Jackson, Wyoming.  He always wanted to be a pilot and participated in many outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. 

His unwavering dedication to the Navy was recognized through a special evaluation of his actions when he remained at the Naval Station in Kodiak, Alaska after his scheduled departure to assist after servere damage was inflicted on the Naval facilities and surrounding community from an earthquake.  According to the special, "Ferrin worked around the clock in below freezing temperatures in limited lighting, only taking the time to eat and for an occasional nap." 

  • Douglas P. Foote , Middleton:  Douglas Foote is being honored for his distinguished service to our country.  Douglas served more than 20 years in the Air National Guard, and he earned many honors for his distinguished service.  This includes the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak leaf Clusters, a National Defense Service Medal, an Air Force Longevity Service Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters and many more.  The American Legion Middleton Post 39 nominated him for this award. 

Douglas had a desire to continue to serve his country after his military service.  He found a good way to do that was by assisting veterans organizations.  He and his wife of 30 years, Janis, donate the services of their pet and livestock sitting business to veterans in need.  He is also active in a number of veterans organizations.  This includes helping restart and serving as Commander of the Middleton American Legion Post 39; 1 st Vice-Commander for District 3, Department of Idaho; President of the Ada County United Veterans Council; a board member for Brave Hearts; and much more.  Both Douglas' son and daughter have served in the military. 

  • Harry Gustafson , Pocatello:  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Harry Gustafson for this award for his dedicated service to our nation.  Harry Gustafson joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and served as a crane operator/Army Engineer.  He spent three years serving in Europe, with six months of the time being on the frontline in France.  Harry assisted with company communication on the frontline and had duties holding the line and keeping the Germans from crossing over.  During his service, he had a few close calls, including nearly getting hit with mortar fire when he and a fellow soldier were splicing a wire to assist with communication.  Harry earned a number of honors for his service, including a Bronze Star, the European African Middle Eastern Medal, Good Conduct Medal and World War II Victory Medal.   

After returning home, he worked in a grocery store, as his childhood dream had been to own a grocery store.  He spent most of his career as a tool and dye maker in California.  He married his wife, Adeline, in 1947, and they had two daughters.  He loved going camping and fishing in the Idaho mountains with his wife and children.  Harry is recognized as "a very loving man who did much for his wife when she was ill for his children, and for his country." 

  • Gerald A. Hanson , Boise:  Gerald Hanson is being honored for his extensive, dedicated service to our nation.  Gerald served with distinction for 27 years through three wars, including World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  The Marine Corps League nominated him for this award.  Gerald earned many military honors for his notable service.  This includes the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Gold Star, the Navy Presidential Unit Citation with one Gold Star, the Navy Unit Commendation, the World War II Victory Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Star and many more. 

Following his military service, Gerald served as an Ada county Deputy Sheriff for two years.  He later retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 18 years.  He and his late wife, Jane, have three sons and one daughter.  People like Gerald are the reason our freedoms are preserved.  At a young age, he stepped forward to serve, and his commitment is inspiring. 

Kay C. Kalbfleisch , Lewiston:  Major Kay Kalbfleisch, who retired from the Lewiston School District in 1992, spent decades serving our nation.  The Marine Corps League nominated him for this award for his outstanding service to our nation and its veterans.  Kay, who was born in Lewiston and grew up in Orofino, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952 and served for three years during the Korean War.  He then returned to college, married, had two sons and a daughter, taught school and coached. 

He continued to serve as a reservist and returned to active duty during the Vietnam War.  He earned numerous honors for his service.  This includes being awarded the Bronze Star for his meritorious service as a Commanding Officer.  His citation for his award recognizes his "inspiring leadership," "superb professionalism and unwavering devotion to duty."  After serving in Vietnam, he returned to teaching and later active duty and retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1979 as a Major.  He remains actively engaged in a number of veterans organizations and devotes considerable time to assisting with veterans and other community activities, including graveside memorial services, food drives, Toys for Tots, the Traveling Vietnam Wall, Veterans Day celebrations and more.  Major Kalbfleisch has served our nation with distinction and continues to serve. 

  • Billy Joe Keng , Lewiston:  Billy Joe Keng is being honored for his exemplary service to our nation.  He was born in 1925 in Dill, Oklahoma and served our nation in the U.S. Marine Corps during the World War II.  He served in Okinawa, the Ryukyu Islands and during the Occupation of China.  His special military qualifications were serving as a mortar crewman and guard.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Lewiston nominated him for this award. 

He married Louella B. Stevens in 1948 and was a member of the American Legion Post 13 and the Moose Lodge for more than 50 years.  Billy worked as a meat cutter and Safeway Department Manager from 1950-1987.  He also volunteered for the American Red Cross and for the Idaho Veterans' Home.  At a young age, Billy Joe Keng left home to serve our nation, defend our freedoms and help liberate our allies abroad.  He then returned home and became part of the heart of the community while continuing to serve others.

  • Robert E. Lenigan , Star:  First Lieutenant Robert (Bob) E. Lenigan is being honored for his outstanding service to our nation.  Bob, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, joined the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam combat veteran.  A Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Bronze Star with "V" device and two Oak Leaf Clusters are among the honors he earned for his distinguished service.  The Military Order of the Purple Heart, which recognizes Bob's dedication and service to veterans, nominated him for this award.

Since 2002, Bob has served in many Military Order of the Purple Heart Leadership roles that include serving as Jr. Vice Commander, Senior Vice Commander and Department Commander.  His leadership has been credited with keeping the chapters active and competitive.  In addition to his military career and volunteer work, Bob has been a small business owner.  He and his wife, Terri, have two sons.  Bob Lenigan's support for our nation and ongoing support for his fellow veterans are admirable.

  • Carl Murray , Pocatello:  Carl Murray, who was born in Kuna, Idaho, is being honored for his exemplary service to our nation during World War II.  Carl enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and served for more than three years.  This included serving in the air offensive in Europe, Normandy and Nothern France during World War II.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated him for this award.

Carl was a navigator for the Army Air Corps echelon strategic bombers and assisted with bombing places of resources or transportation routes.  Carl's first mission with the echelon was on June 6, 1944, D-Day.  After his military service, Carl went on to attend college and earn a Chemical Engineering degree.  He worked as a chemist and retired from a chemical processing plant near Arco, Idaho.  Carl enjoyed fishing, camping and hunting with his wife and children.  He was also a minister and an exalted ruler for the Elks Club in Blackfoot, Idaho.  Carl is well respected as an intelligent, caring man who is a pleasure to be around and has done much for his family and country. 

  • Howard A. Osterberg , Lewiston:  Howard Osterberg is being honored for his dedicated service to our nation.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10043 nominated Howard for this award.  Howard was raised on a family farm between Troy and Deary, Idaho and joined the U.S. Army on July 2, 1948.  In June 1950, he received orders to deploy to Korea.  After what he characterized as "the hardest duty and the coldest winters of his life" his tour ended in June 1951 and he returned to Fort Lewis, Washington.  His next assignment took him to Germany where he spent another cold winter before returning to the U.S. and being honorably discharged as a Sergeant First Class in June 1952.  The distinctions he earned for his service include the Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars.

Howard married in June 1954 and gained one step daughter, and was later widowed in August 1987.  He worked for Potlatch Forest, Inc. for 35 years, and joined the VFW in 1995.  He held several offices, including Post Commander, District Commander, State Inspector and State Surgeon.  In 2007, he was voted Mr. VFW for his volunteer work and leadership, and in 2011 he received a Lifetime of Achievement Award from the Department of Idaho.  Howard Osterberg's service to our nation and continued service to his fellow veterans is worthy of recognition. 

  • Daniel Verwolf , Pocatello:  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello nominated Daniel (Dan) Verwolf for this award for his remarkable service to our nation.  Dan joined the U.S. Marines in 1965 and served for more than a year as part of a helicopter support team during the Vietnam War.  The team's duties included transporting supplies to troops and flying out those who gave the greatest sacrifice for our country.  Dan's honors for his service include a Good Conduct Medal and Vietnam Service Medal. 

Dan, who was born in Bozeman, Montana, grew up in the city, but at the age of six his family moved to Manhattan, Montana, where he quickly learned to become a cowboy.  He loved working with his family on the ranch and running cattle.  After his military service, Dan had many jobs, but really enjoyed driving truck.  Dan is acknowledged for his considerable sacrifice for his country.


Mary K. Caldwell , Garden City:  Mary Kathleen (Kathy) Caldwell is being honored for the considerable assistance she provides to area veterans.  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Boise nominated her for this award.  Kathy has been volunteering for more than three years at the home, helping with a number of activities, including outings and trips and assisting in the Canteen.  She is a regular at the home's bi-monthly shopping trips, the monthly senior center lunches and breakfasts, Festival of Trees, Western Idaho Fair and various holiday parties.  She is well-respected for her willingness to always pitch in and help.

Kathy's giving spirit runs deep.  Since the age of eight, she gave away food, blankets and more to those in need.  In addition to her service at the veterans home, she spearheaded the "Arrest the Cold" blanket drive while employed at the Idaho Department of Corrections, prior to her retirement.  She also participates in the Stuff the Bus campaign each year, makes regular deliveries to shelters, the Food Bank and assists at Goodwill.  Kathy indicates that the love she gets back and the friends she makes are what she enjoys about volunteering.  She says that she has always enjoyed helping people.  Kathy is a great asset to the community and an inspiration to all those who are blessed to know her. 

  • Don Crisp , Lewiston:  The Idaho State Veterans Home-Lewiston nominated Don for this award for his dedicated volunteer service to the home since 2006.  He assists with weekly bible study, monthly singing during ice cream socials, and he helps out wherever needed as a good friend to the residents.  Don is known for his great rapport with the veterans and their spouses, and he is considered to be an asset to the veterans home.  Don credits his journey with God for his service work.  According to Don, "This began the most exciting portion of my life.  I started doing nursing home ministry and serving others instead of just myself."  In addition to volunteering in the veterans home, Don and his wife, Marilynne, are dedicated to reaching out to people in retirement and nursing homes in the area. 

Don also served in the U.S. Marines for eight years from November 1953-November 1961.  Like Don, all of his four children, two sons and one daughter, from his first marriage served in the military.  Don has resided in Lewiston since June 1977 when he moved his business from Missouri to Lewiston.  He operated the business until 1990 and then worked as a Business & Sales Representative for the Husqvarna Co. of Sweden in their Power Equipment Division until he retired in 1998.  Don is an important part of the community, and his friendships and connection with fellow veterans is special. 

  • Barry C. Kelso , Boise:  Barry C. Kelso is a strong advocate on behalf of veterans both within his family and within the veterans' community.  The Boise Valley POW-MIA Corporation nominated him for the Spirit of Freedom Award.  After serving as Seaman Apprentice in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, Mr. Kelso resumed his civilian career and worked tirelessly to achieve the Purple Heart for his uncle, Orval Allen Kelso, who fought on Wake Island and died during World War II.  Mr. Kelso worked with Idaho filmmaker Noah Barnes and executives at URS, formerly Morrison-Knudson, to help document the sacrifice of Idahoans on Wake Island.

This effort saw Mr. Kelso spearheading the creation of a permanent Wake Island Veterans Memorial alongside existing memorials at the Idaho Veterans State Park in Boise.  For the first time, the stories of Idaho veterans and civilians who were taken as Prisoners of War and who defended our freedom on Wake Island are documented in this public exhibit.  Mr. Kelso, affectionately known as "Captain" to his associates, proudly flies the POW-MIA flag outside his home.  He installed the flag during a ceremony outside his Boise residence.  Mr. Kelso has given generously of his time at POW-MIA rallies and events such as the "Chrome at the Home," and is a long-time volunteer at the Idaho Veterans Home. 


  • Lori Marvin , Blackfoot:  Lori Marvin has dedicated considerable time over the last more than eight years volunteering at the Idaho State Veterans Home-Pocatello, that has nominated Lori for this recognition.  Lori is considered a pleasure to work with, dedicated to serving veterans, and her positive attitude inspires others.  She enjoys taking veterans to the Eastern Idaho State Fair and spending the day enjoying food, seeing booths, animals and special programs.  Most of all, she enjoys seeing the smiles on veterans faces.  Those who nominated her feel she reflects a true volunteer spirit of compassion, dedication and energy and indicate that "her love for veterans and seniors is shown in her words and actions."        

Lori's father is a veteran, and she has always had a great admiration for veterans.  In addition to the assistance she provides at the veterans home, she is a board member for the Idaho Veterans Assistance League and the Elks Veterans Chairman and Elks East Idaho Chairman.  She has worked to unite Elks lodges to raise money to help veterans.  Lori has lived in Blackfoot for 14 years and is the owner of Lori's Salon.  Lori and her husband, Mike, have been married for 12 years.  She is regarded as having a great gift of seeing a need and finding a way to help.  Her work is making a big difference in the lives of those who are blessed to know her.

  • Mary May , Eagle:  Mary May is being honored for her extensive volunteer service on behalf of our nation's veterans.  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, where Mary May has volunteered since May 2014, nominated Mary for this award.  With family members in all branches of military service, Mary has been a long-time volunteer for military-related causes.  She enjoys making a positive difference in someone's life.  In her words, "Through volunteering at the Veterans Cemetery, I feel privileged to be able to reach out to someone during such a difficult and emotional time in order to let them know that they are not alone-that their sacrifice and their loved ones' sacrifices on behalf of our country are acknowledged and appreciated."

I addition to volunteering at the cemetery, Mary dedicates considerable time to volunteering through many other organizations.  She is the founder and chair of the Eagle Food and Wine Festival, the founder and chair of the Central Valley Expressway Coalition and founding member and co-chair of ESTech:  Eagle-Emmett-Star Technology Corridor.  Mary also serves as the President of the College of Western Idaho Foundation Board of Directors, is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Boise, member of the Board of Directors of the Special Olympics of Idaho, a Board Member for Idaho Performing Arts and much more.  In nominating her for the award, Idaho State Veterans Cemetery Administrator James Earp wrote, "Her actions inspire those around her to strive for excellence.  Her presence at the cemetery provides an energy that motivates her fellow volunteers and also comforts those during the difficult interment experience."  Beyond the work she does, she has a gift for encouraging others through her example. 

  • Milton D. Smith , Meridian:  Milton (Milt) Smith, a native Idahoan, is being honored for his extensive service to our nation and its veterans.  He assists his fellow veterans as a Veteran Service Officer with the Idaho Division of Veterans Services that nominated him for this honor.  He works to ensure that benefits due to veterans are rightly realized.  He has also been appointed as the American Legion Department Service Officer and works for the improvement of veterans benefits. 

Milt joined the U.S. Navy in 1961 and dedicated 26 years serving our nation as an Aviation Electronics Technician.  During his military service, he was deployed twice to the Western Pacific in support of the Vietnam War and received several promotions and honors for his distinguished service.  This includes the 1969 Naval Air Station Imperial Beach Navy Man of the Year, the Navy Achievement Medal and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.  In 1986, he retired from active duty and worked for the Boeing Company and the Department of Idaho before his current position.  Milt also serves as an Adult Sunday School Teacher, participates in Toastmasters and walks his dog, Buddy.  He and his wife, Karen, have six children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  Milt's experience as a veteran gives him valuable perspective in assisting other veterans and championing needed benefits changes. 

  • Sam Wanacott , Boise:  The Boise VA Medical Center nominated Sam for this award, as Sam has dedicated considerable time over the past nine years volunteering in Recreation Therapy.  Sam began volunteering as a high school student continuing on into college.  His willingness to make himself available for the needs of the veterans and his good rapport with residents, staff and other volunteers is recognized.  Sam is considered to be an example in leadership for the high school volunteers in Recreation Therapy.    

Sam enjoys meeting veterans and assisting them where needed.  He also enjoys working with staff and other volunteers in recreation programs and special events.  Through his volunteering, the VA feels like a second home to Sam and many of the staff and volunteers are nearly family.  Sam assists with numerous activities, including the Winter Carnival, Festival of Trees and Patient Carnival.  He also plays chess with veterans, serves as a State Fair escort and assists with the Community Living Center newsletter.  Sam indicates he looks forward to assisting, talking with and getting to know veterans in helping with improving their quality of life.  Sam is an Economics major at Boise State University.  Sam's dedication to assisting veterans from a very young age is inspirational.