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

Liyah Babaya

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.

Lesli Schei

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.

Russell Davies

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.

Reginald Reeves

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.

Bowen Toomey

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.

Nicolas Garcia

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.

Alexander Knoll

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.

Peggy Elliott Goldwyn

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.

Christian Colonel

Christian Colonel was a former Professional 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. Also he has made huge strides for special needs kids in the Pocatello schools and community. As of 2018 school year he has helped incorporate Adapted P.E. for the Pocatello District.

Marrie Madden

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.