Senate – May 12, 2005)
Congressional Record, 109th Congress, Vol. 151, No 62
A LIFE OF TEACHING, A LOVE OF LEARNING, A HEART FOR CHILDREN
Mr. CRAPO. Mr. President, I am honored to recognize a truly remarkable individual today. Gail Chumbley is a history teacher at Eagle High School in Eagle, ID. A high school history teacher; there are many individuals who can claim this job title but few who have done so much. Gail is an amazing teacher, passionately devoted to teaching our American experience to her students. Not only does she teach about events in our Nation’s history, she has ventured into the next realm, moving the tenets of American citizenship into the real world for her students.
I first heard of Gail’s efforts 4 years ago when she became actively involved in the Library of Congress’s Veterans Oral History Project four years ago. At that time, she had organized the recording of over 300 oral histories for Eagle High School’s library alone. She expanded the effort to include other Idaho schools and collaborated with local civics groups to record literally hundreds more interviews that went to both the Eagle High School archives and the Idaho Oral History Center. One of the most significant accomplishments of Gail and her students was their participation in the Veterans Stand Down in Boise where homeless veterans were given the opportunity to record interviews. Her efforts were not confined to veterans of past wars. Gail and her students also have sent gift boxes and cards to our current service women and men in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. She was instrumental in making Eagle High School the top school donor for the World War II Memorial, with a donation of close to $25,000. The list of her accomplishments, enhanced further with her national recognition by the Daughters of the American Revolution this year is long, but that is not the focus of my remarks today.
Gail has turned the teaching of history and civics into the action of patriotism. Perhaps the most compelling and significant accomplishment of Gail Chumbley is not her esteemed list of awards and honors, which are many and richly-deserved. Her most important contribution is her role in creating a sense of citizenship within the hearts and intellect of many Idaho young people. This citizenship lives on in these students as they grow into adulthood and manifests itself in their actions, commitments and convictions. It is an entity that grows exponentially and of its own volition, eclipsing plaques, certificates and statuettes. These gather dust, but what they represent are the pillars upon which our country stands firm. This living citizenship is immortalized by the marbled statues of men and women not far from here,
and in words carved of the same.
I honor Gail Chumbley today: American patriot, exemplary citizen and
role model for all of us.
Gail Chumbley is the author of River of January, a memoir, also available on Kindle. The second volume in the epic, River of January: The Figure Eight is coming this fall.