BY MEGHANN M. CUNIFF
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
Rob Shoplock has answered many last-minute calls in his 13 years with the Eagle Fire Department, but none had ever sent him across the country until a state Democratic Party representative called earlier this month.
It was Jan. 2, and Idaho had no one designated to march in President Barack Obama’s Jan. 21 inaugural parade. Could he help?
Shoplock was thrilled to accept the assignment.
“We can’t even begin to explain what an honor it is to represent the great state of Idaho in this bipartisan parade,” Shoplock said in a phone interview from the Boise airport Friday afternoon. “We’re super excited.”
Shoplock joins about 30 Idaho firefighters who will march Monday as Professional Firefighters of Idaho.
Eight are from Boise, and eight are from Meridian. Another is from Nampa. The rest are from Lewiston, Coeur d’Alene and Chubbuck.
The firefighters will be joined in the parade by Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party.
She said the state party didn’t organize a formal trip, but she expects to see many Idahoans in D.C.
“I’m really excited about showing up in D.C. and seeing how many Idahoans are going,” she said.
Cindy Myers traveled from Boise to join her sister Charlette Kremer and other family members in D.C., including Kremer’s daughter, who’s stationed with the Air Force in Mountain Home.
The family plans to stay a week and see all the usual sights. They’d already toured the Smithsonian Natural History and American History museums by Friday.
“We’re just looking forward to being part of history and sharing that as a family,” said Kremer, of Lewiston.
Kremer obtained her ticket from Sen. Mike Crapo’s office.
The Professional Firefighters of Idaho paid for six people’s travel and hotel costs, which amounted to about $10,000. Other firefighters used donations to pay for their trips.
“All the fire chiefs have been really supportive of guys going over there,” Shoplock said. “We’re representing not just the full-time firefighter but the volunteers and fire chiefs as well.”
Shoplock planned to sightsee on Saturday but was busy Sunday preparing for the parade.
“We’re going to wave the Idaho flag with the pipes and drums going down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Shoplock said. “We’re going to make some noise and make Idaho proud.”
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418