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Veterans, Volunteers Honored with Crapo's Spirit of Freedom Award

Crapo to present award in Shelley

Boise - Twelve Idaho veterans and seven volunteers serving Idaho's veterans will be honored on Veterans Day, this Friday, with Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's Spirit of Freedom Award.  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 veterans community to present the awards during Veterans Day ceremonies in Idaho.

Details of this year's Spirit of Freedom awards ceremonies follow:

Spirit of Freedom Ceremony, Thursday, November 10:

Shelley      10:00 AM , Firth High School, 329 Lincoln Street (Crapo presents to Brett Waters)

Spirit of Freedom Ceremonies planned for Friday, November 11 th:

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

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

Lewiston    2:00 PM, Red Lion Hotel, 621 21st Street

Here is the list of the 2016 Spirit of Freedom Awards to veterans and volunteers:


  • Lloyd Kent Brown , Garden City:  Colonel Brown was nominated by the Boise VA Medical Center.  Born in Pocatello, he served in the U.S. Army for 26 years, and as staff for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.  He was a professor of Government and Economics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned several medals for his service that included serving  in Vietnam.
  • Henry W. Clark , Boise:  "Hank" Clark, has served in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.  Nominated by the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, he served aboard the U.S.S. Tripoli, off the coast of Vietnam and today continues to honor his fellow veterans as a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.
  • Charlie A. Hollenbeck , Lewiston:  A veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Hollenbeck was nominated by the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston and earned the rank of Corporal serving in the 358 th Infantry in World War II.  He earned many medals and fondly recalls meeting General Patton after the Battle of the Bulge, and his unit liberated the Flossenberg Concentration Camp.
  • Bud Kelly , Pocatello:  A native of Rockland who joined the U.S. Army out of high school, Kelly was nominated by the Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello.  He served in the U.S. Army 513 th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge during which he was taken as a prisoner of war, and as he explained,nearly froze and starved to death.  After being liberated, he returned to the U.S., and he earned a number of honors for his service.  These include the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, Purple Heart, POW Medal and Bronze Star.
  • Timothy James McBride , Fruitland:  The Military Order of the Purple Heart nominated McBride for serving in the U.S. Army in Germany and in Vietnam.  He achievedmany awards for his service, and later applied his experiences to work as a machinist, teacher, college instructor, miner, computer system analyst, electronics engineer and publisher. 
  • Ned Mickelsen , Pocatello:  A Blackfoot area native, Michelsen was nominated by the Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944, served on the front lines in Iwo Jima in World War II and earned numerous recognitions for his service.  He has spoken many times to students at area schools about his service and patriotism.  
  • Jacob D. Sattler , Boise:  "Jake" Sattler was nominated by the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise because of his 30 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, but also for his service at the Veterans Home.  He earned many medals for his combat service. 
  • Erin Smith , Boise:  Sergeant 1st Class Smith, of the Idaho Army National Guard was recognized for breaking new ground for women in the military as the first female armor enlisted soldier in the nation to graduate from the U.S. Army's M1 Armor Crewman School and the nation's first female armor enlisted soldier.  She served in deployments to Bosnia and Iraq.  Crapo presented Sgt. 1st Class Smith with her Spirit of Freedom Award during a visit to Gowen Field. 
  • John A. Spurny, Mountain Home:  The Idaho Military Division nominated Spurny for his service in the U.S. Air Force for 28 years.  He earned the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and was deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch, Provide Comfort and the First Gulf War, serving in the aircraft maintenance career field as a squadron first sergeant and family support program superintendent, named in 1983 as Tactical Air Command's Aircraft Maintenance Professional of the Year.  He has several medals and served for eight years as one of Governor Butch Otter's Veterans Affairs Commissioners.
  • Irving Tyrrell, Jr. , Boise:  The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, where Captain Irving, known as "Irv," has volunteered,nominated him for his service in the U.S. Air Force for nine years with assignments in Germany and appointment to the Operations and Intelligence, Director of Operations Staff of Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe.  He earned several medals and had a long career with Hewlett-Packard Company in Boiseafter his military service.
  • Douglas E. Welch , Lewiston:  The Lewis-Clark Valley Veterans Council nominated Captain Welch, who served in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Idaho National Guard.  During his 41-years of military service, Welch served many missions, including as Deputy Medical Advisor to NATO Headquarters Allied Joint Force Command in the Netherlands and as the Director of the United States Nothern Command's Joint Regional Medical Plans & Operations Division where his duties included leading the division of 17 Army, Navy, Air Force and Air National Guard Joint Regional Medical Plans and Operations Officers and coordinating and deploying medical relief and evacuation operations for hurricanes, earthquake, fire and other natural and man-made disasters.
  • Joseph H. Whilden , Nampa:  The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Idaho State Council nominated "Joe" Whilden for his honorable service in the U.S. Air Force, where he attained the grade of Airman Second Class.  Following his military service, Joe continued his service as a Peace Officer in Idaho for 30 years and led fundraising efforts to support the Idaho Special Olympics.  Joe is recognized for his instrumental role in the completion and Memorial Day 2016 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans memorial located in Veterans Memorial Park in Boise. 


  • Barbara Gehring , Pocatello:  The Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello nominated Barbara Gehring for this honor for her committed service on behalf of veterans.  As a wife and mother of veterans, Barbara has a profound understanding of service and love for veterans and our country.  She has officially assisted at the veterans home's canteen for three years, but previously spent many years visiting veterans.  In addition to assisting at the home, Barbara has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #3 for 13 years and has held many leadership positionsin the organization.
  • William A. Hamilton , Nampa:  The Department of Idaho Military Order of the Purple Heart nominated William Hamilton for this honor for the dedicated assistance he provides fellow veterans.  William served in the U.S. Army with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Air Cavalry Troop, in the Vietnam War.  As a Vietnam Veteran, William expresses a sense of duty to make certain that we never again allow a veteran returning from a combat zone to receive the same treatment he and other Vietnam Veterans received.  He has volunteered extensively with veterans groups and directly assisting veterans. 
  • Boyd L. Pedersen , Lewiston:  The Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston nominated Boyd Pedersen for this award for his service as an outstanding veteran volunteer.  Boyd served our country for more than forty-one years from 1951 to 1992.  His last assignment was serving as State of Idaho Command Sergeant Major for the Idaho Army National Guard from 1988-1992.  His other major duty assignments include serving in the Korean War.  Sergeant Major Pedersen has not only devoted considerable time to serving our nation, but also he has continued to serve the veterans community through his leadership roles in veterans organizations and his assistance to fellow veterans. 
  • Wayne Sall, Boise:  The Boise VA Medical Center nominated Wayne Sall, as Wayne served our nation in the U.S. Navy and continues to serve his fellow veterans and the Boise community  Wayne has been assisting veterans at the medical center since he filled in for a friend 18 years ago, and his way of connecting with patients and putting them at ease is recognized as one of his shared gifts. 
  • Brett Waters , Shelley:  The Vietnam Veterans of America Idaho State Council nominated Brett Waters for the for the support he has given veterans.  Brett has been instrumental in founding and supporting the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 972 Wheel Chair Program, which locates and refurbishes powered wheelchairs, and distributes them to veterans and family members of veterans.  Brettand his family have been recognized foralways stepping in to help veterans by repairing, restoring, and delivering them. 
  • Rita Weber , Boise:  The Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise nominated Rita Weber for this award, as she is a long-time, outstanding volunteer.  At the veterans home, she is credited with helping to develop outstanding one-on-one programs. Rita has also volunteered for years with schools, the YMCA and various other activities assisting childrenand others
  • Jim White, Lewiston:  The Lewis-Clark Valley Veterans Council nominated Jim White for this award in recognition of his more than 13 years he has spent assisting veterans.  Jim served our nation for more than 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and earned many recognitions for his distinguished service.  This includes receiving the Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, letters of appreciation, recognition and commendation and more.  He has devoted unmeasurable hours over the past 12 years to leading the council's "Toys for Tots" program, and he helps with the 50 to 100 veterans funerals the council assists with each year.  He also assists with fishing trips for veterans and helps with many other veterans activities with the Marine Corps League. 


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