Capitol & State

Otter creates new top civilian honor for Idaho service

A new top civilian honor will now be bestowed annually by the state of Idaho under an executive order Gov. Butch Otter signed Tuesday.

“We have an awful lot of citizens that from time to time do extraordinary things,” Otter said at a news conference. “And we really don’t have a forum or an opportrunity to celebrate them to the extent that I think we should.”

Otter introduced members of a governor-appointed commission that will choose up to five finalists for the award from among public nominations. Annual nominations will be due on March 31, with the commission submitting finalists to the governor by May 1.

Nominations can be made online. Find a link at, where you also can read Otter’s executive order.

Inaugural commissioners are former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Idaho Business for Education Chairman Skip Oppenheimer, Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho board member Kirk Sullivan and former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout. A fifth commissioner will be named.

With the award comes a 19.7-ounce, 99.9 percent-pure silver medal with a relief carving of the Capitol on the front and the state seal on the back. Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla Mining Co. donated silver for the first six medals.

“Hecla’s been around a long time. I’m sure we’ll be around at the end of six years and we’ll be happy to donate more at that time,” said company president and CEO Phillip S. Baker Jr.