Idaho's Hometown Hero Logo

The IDAHO’S HOMETOWN HERO MEDAL is awarded annually to a handful of distinguished Idaho citizens who meet one or more of the following criteria:

EXEMPLIFIES a life dedicated to the Idaho way of hard work, self-improvement and community service.

EMBODIES the spirit of philanthropy while showing a remarkable commitment in both their personal and professional lives to improving communities across the State of Idaho.

PRESERVES, celebrates and promotes the richness of history, tradition, and values of our great state while working to create a better world for all of us in the future by the work they do today.

SHARES gifts with the community to boost recognition of the State of Idaho.

Idaho's Hometown Hero Medal

Zeze Rwasama

A Twin Falls resident originally from Congo, Zeze is the director at the College of Southern Idaho’s Refugee program. An advocate for the defenseless and the broken who are seeking refuge in the Land of the Free. Zeze dedicates his efforts beyond work to educate, integrate, and build bridges between refugees and their new communities. His ability to listen, share his knowledge, and put himself in the forefront is an important aspect of being a hero.

Doug Nelson

An attorney from Idaho Falls, Doug has been serving the Idaho Falls community for more than three decades as a fundraising campaign chair, leader, and planning facilitator advocating for children’s activities programs, mentoring disadvantaged single-mothers, and multiple charitable organizations. He also served his Church in a variety of volunteer positions, including Bishop, Stake Presidency Counselor, and currently is the Greater Idaho Falls Area Director of Public Affairs.

Sonya Rosario

Sonya is the Founder and Executive Director of Women of Color Alliance, from Meridian. She creates opportunities for women who live in rural areas and on reservations, and builds support systems for self-sufficiency by providing trainings and workshops on Leadership Development, Cultural Sensitivity, and Financial Literacy. Her remarkable filmmaking skills have raised awareness of the historical damage of racism against Native American women. Her work and films help heal Native communities.

Wiley Peterson

Wiley Peterson grew up in Fort Hall, Idaho, and began bull riding at the age of 10. He went on to ride for the PBR circuit as a nationally ranked bull rider. He is a professional bull rider, coach, motivational speaker, and a mentor to community members. A humble individual giving back to his Native American community, hoping to bridge the gaps created in society and helping further the progress of the Native American people.

Linda Scott

An incredible community member and volunteer, Linda has committed her time, energy, resources, and compassion for helping others in need. She is a Pocatello native truly dedicated to better the community around her. From Toys for Tots to Election Day, she is present to help in any way possible. A true gem of the Gem State!

Jeni Griffin

Jenni Griffin is a resident of Idaho Falls and has spent over ten years promoting suicide prevention in Idaho She is the Executive Director for SPAN Idaho, and helped get the organization started in Idaho. She has devoted her energy and time consistently to bring awareness and education to the people of Idaho to combat suicide. She is an advocate for suicide prevention and dedicates her energy to help Idahoans choose to live. She is certified to provide training to the community on suicide prevention and education.

Mike Kralicek

Former Coeur D’Alene police officer and Air Force Veteran, Mike has worked relentlessly to educate governmental institutions, public forums, and communities on the importance of police safety and security of citizens. After suffering extreme injuries, Mike now shares his inspirational message to help other public servants to be better prepared for overcoming adversity and from suffering a similar fate. The Kraliceks were instrumental in passing a Senate Bill to help law enforcement families in time of crisis.

Holly Kartchner

An outstanding teacher, coach, and mentor, she has dedicated and committed her efforts to education in Southeastern Idaho, leading her students to reach national championships. Kartchner’s students graduate with strong knowledge of government and history and are being taught the importance of civic responsibility. Also a recipient of the American Civic Education Teacher Award, among many other accolades for teaching civic responsibility to her students.

Dr. Helen Cathleen Tarp

Dr. Helen Cathleen Tarp from Pocatello, Idaho, is a Spanish Professor and founding Program Director of the Spanish for Health Professions major at Idaho State University. This major is the only one of its kind in the country. As founder of the program, Dr. Tarp focused on addressing health disparities in Idaho and patient outcomes by successfully securing a federal grant to recruit, retain, and train physician assistants. Her efforts led to a diverse student body, cultural competence training, and integration of Latino veterans into the PA program. The essence of strengthening community ties.

Tyvan Schmitt

Tyvan Schmitt is from Pocatello, and receives this medal as a posthumous award for his bravery and courage as he gave his life in an attempt to prevent a large catastrophe. Tyvan served time in the Navy and was a devoted community member who helped the homeless, the schools, and neighbors. Tyvan was always ready to help the less fortunate. Nothing was too big or too small for him to lend his hand to. Tyvan left us too soon, and will be dearly missed.