Idaho News

Idaho governor honors human rights champion Marilyn Shuler

As a young girl, Marilyn Shuler had polio. Decades later, it left her progressively weaker. But, she led an active, generous, conscientious, dedicated life. “I am happy. I don’t feel sorry for myself one bit. I have a very full life: family, friends — who could ask for more? You could spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, but why would you do that? Where’s the good?”
As a young girl, Marilyn Shuler had polio. Decades later, it left her progressively weaker. But, she led an active, generous, conscientious, dedicated life. “I am happy. I don’t feel sorry for myself one bit. I have a very full life: family, friends — who could ask for more? You could spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, but why would you do that? Where’s the good?” kjones@idahostatesman.com

Gov. Butch Otter last year announced the annual Idaho Medal of Achievement winner during his State of the State address.

But this year, the governor thought Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day would be a more appropriate day to announce this year’s recipient.

On Monday, Otter presented the state’s highest award posthumously to Idaho human rights leader Marilyn Shuler.

Shuler, who died Feb. 3, 2017, at the age of 77, served for 20 years as director of the Idaho Human Rights Commission.

During a ceremony in the Idaho Capitol, Otter presented the award to the Shuler family, represented by Shuler’s son, Idaho Air National Guard Colonel Tom Shuler.

“I can’t think of a better day to honor Marilyn Shuler than on a day we recognize the sacrifices and accomplishments of those who advanced the cause of human rights through their own self-sacrifice and determination,” Otter said. “Marilyn was every bit a stalwart champion for human rights and a guiding light in our state for decency and compassion.”

Former Gov. Phil Batt joined Otter in presenting the award.

“There are many folks in Idaho who have put a lot of effort, money and time into improving and protecting human rights in our state,” Batt said during the ceremony. “However, there has been nobody who has approached their desired results in such an effective fashion as Marilyn Shuler. She has been undoubtedly our all-time champion and spokesperson in pointing out our human rights deficiencies and finding ways to correct our failures,” he said.

Otter created the Idaho Medal of Achievement by executive order in November 2015 to recognize individual Idahoans for their “exceptional, meritorious, and inspirational” service to the people of Idaho.

In January 2017, Otter named educator and former astronaut Barbara Morgan as the first recipient of the state’s top civilian honor for service.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell

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