Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
I have had the great opportunity this month to recognize 21 Idahoans with the 2022 Spirit of Freedom: Idaho Veterans Service Award. I created the award in 2002 to honor Idaho veterans and volunteers for their outstanding service to our country and its veterans.
Veterans organizations across Idaho nominate the awardees. The Spirit of Freedom Award is presented in two categories: veterans and volunteers who assist veterans. Often times, the award categories overlap, as Idaho veterans who have served our country return home and continue to give generously of their time and resources to helping fellow veterans, military families and many others. The 371 awardees to date represent the many deserving Idahoans who lift up others with their gifts of service and thoughtful care.
For example, this year, the Twin Falls Veterans Council nominated Greg Bryant, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and helps ensure his fellow veterans receive the honor they so deserve. He serves as Commander of the Magic Valley Honor Guard. This is a remarkable commitment, as the Magic Valley Honor Guard provides honors for approximately 85 funerals a year throughout the Magic Valley.
The Donor Outreach for Veterans (DOVE) nominated Hayley Slaughter, of Mountain Home, who donated her kidney earlier this year to Candice Martin, an active member of the U.S. Army. Candice is now back to full duty status, as Hayley continues to volunteer with DOVE to save more lives. Sharyn Kreitzer, Executive Director of DOVE, wrote, “Hayley has boundless energy and a warm, embracing personality that makes all in the DOVE community feel good. How Hayley can do all of this and balance being a mom to three young and active children is remarkable!”
The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Idaho State Council, nominated Honoré Storms, a teacher in Idaho Falls, who invited veterans to her classes to help students better understand their service. She also facilitated students in her U.S. History class completing seven interviews with Vietnam Veterans for the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project.
In addition to these great Idahoans, a complete list of the 21 recipients of the 2022 Spirit of Freedom Award is provided below. Summaries of their service along with summaries of the service of past Spirit of Freedom Award recipients are posted on my official website, www.crapo.senate.gov.
Thank you to the veterans organizations that submitted award nominations this year: American Legion Posts 47 and 152; Bannock County Veterans Services; DOVE; Idaho State Veterans Homes in Boise and Lewiston; Idaho Veterans Assistance League, Inc.; Marine Corps League Detachment 1030; Mission43; Southeast Idaho Chapter the Military Officers Association of America; Twin Falls Veterans Council; VFW Posts 3520 and 7019; VVA Chapter 1025; and VVA, Idaho State Council. And, thank you to this year’s award recipients, and the many other Idahoans like them who may not be recognized yet, for your thoughtful and unwavering efforts to help others in our communities.
(Senator Crapo presented Hayley Slaughter with the 2022 Spirit of Freedom: Idaho Veterans Service Award on October 31, 2022. Haley’s husband, Travis Slaughter, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, and one of their three children are also pictured.)
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