JRM Foundation announces medalists, keynote speaker and events for 2018 Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal Ceremony
POCATELLO — Celebrate your Idaho Hometown Heroes on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at the Stephens Performing Arts Center in Pocatello, where the JRM Foundation for Humanity will honor its Idaho Hometown Hero medalists at the 8th Annual Idaho Hometown Hero Awards Expo, Ceremony and Gala Celebration with the theme, “Lighting the Future,” for those individuals who are inspiring and leading the way for a better tomorrow for all of us. This year’s Idaho Hometown Hero medalists include:
* Liyah Babayan of Twin Falls
As a refugee from Azerbaijan, Liyah Babayan was forced out of her home during the country’s ethnic killings. As a new resident and the minority in her adoptive city of Twin Falls, Babayan has dedicated her life to influencing and bridging humanity, justice and compassion between communities with school supplies and clothing for child refugees through her famous “Street Dinner” parties and raising awareness and resources to address chronic PTSD in refugees, especially children.
* Russell Davies of Chubbuck
As President of PTSD Veteran Athletes, Russell Davies demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to American veterans as well to the Pocatello and Chubbuck community. Davies takes it upon himself to provide impeccable support and service to not only veterans coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma from military service, but to the PTSD Veteran Athletes team.
* Bowen Toomey of Eagle
Bowen Toomey was born without complete arms or legs. He was given up by his birth mother in Serbia and placed in a government-run orphanage. Toomey was born with limited ability due to pregnancy issues presumably caused by effects of uranium bombs in Serbia. At 11, Bowen refuses to be held back in life. He can use a desktop computer with a mouse or an iPad, taught himself to swim, competed in the Hidden Springs Triathlon running portion and plans to tackle the slopes in an assisted-skiing apparatus. Bowen’s energy is unbelievable and his determination is inspirational.
* Alexander Knoll of Post Falls
Alexander Knoll is a 13-year-old app inventor, human rights advocate and international speaker At 8, he testified in front of the Idaho State Legislature Tax and Revenue Committee on behalf of the school children of Idaho. At 10, he became the Regional and State Grand Champion of Invent Idaho, a statewide competition for young inventors, for his Ability App invention that can help people with disabilities navigate public spaces and find safe, reliable services and employment. It is similar to Yelp but for accessibility. When it’s finished, the free application will help people with disabilities navigate public spaces by providing information about wheelchair ramps, disabled parking, braille menus and more.
* Christian Colonel of Pocatello
Christian Colonel was a former Major League Baseball player. He suffered with alcoholism and after a long struggle accomplished sobriety. Colonel has taken his life’s lessons and turned them into inspiration. As a local hero, Colonel uses and shares his experiences with young high school students to stress what the severe impact of alcohol abuse and addiction can do.
* Lesli Schei of Chubbuck
Lesli Schei’s outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in serving children across Idaho though the Parent Teacher Association as well as serving abused, abandoned and neglected children in Southeastern Idaho deserves much recognition. Schei is deeply committed to Idaho children across the state. She serves on various committees at many levels. Her level of commitment and drive is relentless, and she is a resourceful, highly motivated and talented individual. Since beginning her work with the 6th Judicial District CASA Program, she has been extensively involved with training and supporting each volunteer the program supports.
* Reginald Reeves of Idaho Falls
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Reginald R. Reeves, an Idaho Falls attorney, is the Executive Director of Sun Valley Charitable Foundation, Inc., headquartered in Idaho Falls, and serving much of Southern Idaho. S.V.C.F., INC., which is an IRS, recognized 501 C (3) non-profit entity. Reeves collect food and other merchandise from businesses and individuals to in turn donate to people in
need. Reeves’ objective is to continue serving approximately 800 to 1,000 families, 1,500 to 2,000 individuals, weekly and more if possible. Reeves is an avid Pro-Bono advocate for Active Military and Military Veterans, and he has helped many military men and women through the Veterans Administration System and also with other necessary legal aid. Reeves has also been donating his own rare blood type since 1950. Throughout his lifetime of regular donations, he has donated 49 gallons with the American Red Cross.
* Nicolas Garcia of Pocatello
Nicolas Garcia owns Puerto Vallarta in Pocatello and his small business is only one of the many ways he gives back to the community. He is a member of the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce and other community groups and donates generously to Highland High School Hispanic Awareness Leadership Organization, the Back 2 School fundraiser and Spinderella to name a few. He was a police officer for 15 years, and he always helps local law enforcement and offers a safe friendly place to eat. Every Thanksgiving he has a dinner that he and other sponsors fund where they give dinner plates to anyone and everyone whether they need food or to be in a friendly environment.
* Peggy Elliott Goldwyn of Sun Valley
As a former keynote speaker for Idaho’s Hometown Hero Awards, Peggy Goldwyn provides advice and mentorship for young women who seek to know more about becoming productive women in the 21st century. She is the founder of the Family of Woman Film Festival based in Sun Valley and uses filmmaking as a platform to raise awareness on social issues regarding women and children around the world while simultaneously creating opportunities for other filmmakers and storytellers who stand up for women’s rights. Goldwyn began her career writing, directing and producing documentaries for syndicated television then wrote television comedies for many years.
* Carrie Madden of Idaho Falls
The Madden family lost their daughter, sister and friend to a domestic violence homicide. McKenzie Madden and along with her friend Jonathan Sadler were killed July 14, 2014 by a former boyfriend of McKenzie’s in Logan, Utah. Kenzie was a student at Utah State University working toward a bachelor’s degree in both sociology and psychology with a minor in criminal justice and a certificate in law and society area studies. Carrie and her family have taken the loss of Kenzie and turned it into not only a community wide effort that recognizes the impact Domestic Violence can have on victims and their families, but she has created a nationwide movement that brings recognition to this violent epidemic that impacts families nationwide.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Judge Randy Smith, a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who is also a former Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal recipient. The Honorable Judge Randy Smith’s dedication as a mentor to youth in our community and as an educator to students throughout our great state of Idaho has been an enormous achievement. His dedication to the future of Idaho is to be admired and respected. This year’s JRM Foundation’s 2018 Idaho’s Hometown Hero Award ceremony has been appropriately themed for Judge Randy Smith’s work.
“I could not be more excited and honored to have Judge Randy Smith to return as a medal recipient to be the Idaho’s Hometown Hero Awards keynote speaker,” said Executive Director Beena Rahim. “His dedication as a mentor to youth in our community as well as an educator to students throughout Idaho is an impressive achievement. His commitment to the future of Idaho is to be admired and respected. He is the essence of Idaho—humble, caring and continuously making Idaho a better place by giving back with his time and talent.”
The celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the Konner’s Car Show, which is free and open to the public until 6 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. In addition, the Performing Arts Center will host the JRM Foundation’s Partner Expo from 4:30 to 6 p.m., which is also free and open to the public and where participants will learn about the work and meet the supporters and partner charities of the JRM Foundation.
At 6 p.m., the Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal Ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place along with the keynote speech. Following the medal ceremony will be the dinner and gala event celebration at 7 p.m. The dinner and gala are a ticketed event at the Stephen’s Performing Arts Center.
Established in 2011, Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal pays tribute to those who show unique characteristics, achievements and remarkable commitment to creating better, safer communities across the state of Idaho. The honorees are incredible Idahoans who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives while continuing to preserve and promote the richness of Idaho and create a better world for all of us in the future by the work they do today.
To purchase or reserve tickets for gala and sponsorship information, visit www.jrmfoundation.org/shop.