Gerald “Jerry” Hanes

Gerald “Jerry” Hanes, retired from the U.S. Army National Guard as a major, and now serves his time volunteering with veterans at a local hospice facility in Fruitland. He just received a prestigious national award that lauds him for his volunteerism.

Army National Guard veteran Gerald “Jerry” Haines, of Fruitland, will receive the 2019 Spirit of Freedom: Idaho Veterans Service Award during a presentation in Ontario this week.

The award was established by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, as a way to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of Idaho’s veterans as well as volunteers who support these veterans, according to a news release from his office.

Haines was nominated for the honor by members of the Veterans Advocates of Ore-Ida, where Haines is a board member and chaplain.

Individuals are nominated for the award by a number of veterans’ organizations, including American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and Veterans Advocates.

Ron Verini, CEO of Veterans Advocates, described Haines as one of the most caring individuals he works with.

“I nominated him because of his tireless giving back to our nation in the form of volunteer work here at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida and, of course, volunteering he does for hospice,” said Verini.

Haines, who regularly volunteers in his community, recently received a national award for his volunteer service in hospice.

He is one of 28 Idahoan veterans to receive the Spirit of Freedom Award.

Haines spent 25 years serving his country, retiring at age 41 as a Major in the U.S. Army National Guard.

In addition to the presentation of a certificate, he will be presented a United States flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol building.

“The Spirit of Freedom Awards recognize veterans and volunteers who set an example of leadership and service in our communities and across our state,” said Crapo in the news release. “I welcome the opportunity to express gratitude for this exemplary service by honoring those patriots who have served and continue to serve our country, Idaho and their local communities.”

According to a spokeswoman for Crapo, a representative of the office will present the award to Haines on Wednesday afternoon at Veteran Advocates.

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