County historical society honors trio of achievers
BLACKFOOT—The Bingham County Historical Society (BCHS) observed March as "Women's Month" by honoring three women who have played various key roles in the history of the area on Wednesday night at the Senior Center.
Lois Bates, Jean Esplin and Billie Cullimore were each given a peach rose and a plaque for their contributions to Bingham County.
"The color peach stands for admiration and gratitude and we are proud to have such wonderful women to choose from and are sure that there are also many more out there to make acknowledgement to as well," said Trudy Kirkpatrick, historian of the BCHS.
Becky Young gave a brief background and also a presentation on all of the things that Cullimore has accomplished over the years.
Cullimore is the second vice president of the BCHS and director of the Bingham Historical Museum, as well as an accomplished artist and poet.
Among several awards that Cullimore has accumulated throughout her life, and she received her most recent award, "Poetry Gold Medal of Excellence," at the 2013 Poetry Fest in Reno. She was also fortunate enough to have her poem, "Time Looking Back," be awarded third place in the National Poetry Contest.
Cullimore claims that her motto in life is, "Keep God in your life, never lose your faith and do the best you can with what you have to do it with."
She said, "I feel very honored and humbled because there are so many people who should also be honored and I am thrilled and grateful for the recognition."
Sara Staub presented the background on Esplin and presented the audience members with a copy of a few of Esplin's "Looking Glass" public opinion columns that she had written for the Morning News back in the late 1970's.
Esplin was born and raised in Bingham County and grew up picking potatoes and hoeing beets on a farm. She graduated from Shelley High School in 1947. She was elected as the Bingham County Clerk in 1979 and served four terms.
Esplin is involved in various community programs, including Zonta. She has also served two consecutive missions to St. Louis Missouri for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"She is very kind and sweet-natured, but is most certainly not a pushover," said Staub," She always gave you a chance to be better."
"It is a privilege to be recognized, I think there are many others who could be honored as well, but it is a privilege to be here," said Esplin.
Bates' youngest daughter, Jaeme Freeman, outlined Bates' background and accomplishments.
Freeman said that she grew up reading a lot of Dr. Seuss and gave her presentation on her beloved mother in poetry form. She stated that Bates was born and raised in Blackfoot and has spent countless hours researching the history of Bingham County.
"(Lois) knows the county top to bottom, inside and out," said Kirkpatrick.
Bates was involved in various community organizations and activities including the PTA for Stoddard Elementary School, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the BCHS.
Bates has been focused on preserving the rich heritage of Bingham County.
"I was very honored to be asked to present her service to her community," said Freeman.
Bates said, "I feel wonderful about being able to be recognized."
"I think it is a fabulous thing to recognize these women's accomplishments while they are still able to appreciate and enjoy the tribute," said Marty Ellis, the president of the Bingham County Historical Society.