October 22, 2010

Idahoans Who Help Vernon Baker Family Honored

Crapo meets with contractors, family members to issue Spirit of Idaho Award

Coeur d'Alene - A number of Idaho individuals, contractors and others stepped forward to volunteer their time to help the family of the late Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Vernon Baker of St. Maries. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has called the volunteers together to meet with Baker's wife, Heidy, and local elected officials on Monday, and to present each of them with his Spirit of Idaho Award. Two ceremonies, one in St. Maries, Baker's home for many years, and another in Post Falls, will be held to celebrate the efforts of the Idaho volunteers.

Vernon Baker passed away from cancer at age 90 in July. He was the first African-American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. During World War II, Baker singlehandedly took out several machine gun and observation posts behind enemy lines and saved the lives of several fellow soldiers. As a decorated war hero, Baker had chosen to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but the trip taxed the family's finances. Idahoans came to the aid of Baker's family, helping with travel expenses as well as for repair and restoration of the family home.

Mrs. Baker and other family members will attend both award ceremonies. Among those being honored are Members of American Legion Post #25, American Legion Post #143, Jack Buell, John Corcoran, Small's Construction, Ray and Pam Katus, Sgt. First Class Ken Reiswig, Retired Major General Larry LaFrenz, James Bevis and Tom Wilford. Crapo created the Spirit of Idaho Award in 2000 to honor Idahoans who make a difference for their community without seeking the spotlight.

Crapo presents Spirit of Idaho Award to volunteers assisting Vernon Baker's family:

Monday, October 25:
10:45 a.m. St. Maries Grub Box Restaurant, 201 North 8th
12:30 p.m. Post Falls American Legion Headquarters, 1138 Poleline Avenue