Idaho's Best Volunteers Honored at Statehouse 



Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Shaw spends his days helping fellow veterans. He's the founder of the Post Falls-based Guardians Foundation, which reaches out to veterans without a home or who are at risk of losing their home.

According to a 2011 House and Urban Development study, veterans constitute 14 percent of the homeless population, though they only represent about 10 percent of the U.S. adult population. The Guardian Foundation assists veterans with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and job opportunities. 

In a Idaho Statehouse ceremony Thursday evening, Shaw was singled out and honored with the Brightest Star Volunteer of the Year award for an individual. The Idaho Department of Labor also handed out Brightest Star trophies to a number of organizations, including the Bank of Idaho in Idaho Falls, the Pocatello Community Charter School and the Hunger Coalition in Bellevue.

Student honors went to Idah Whisenant, an AmeriCorps VISTA Service coordinator at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston. Cara McCann Snyder, also of Lewiston, was honored as Idaho's outstanding senior volunteer for her work with family caregivers of those with Alzheimer's.

The Brightest Star awards have been handed out for decades by Idaho governors, as part of the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor.

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