2019 Idaho Heritage Hero Awards

Idaho National Laboratory

In 2019, Idaho National Laboratory will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of nuclear energy research and innovation in Idaho. In 1949, the Atomic Energy Commission selected the eastern Snake River Plain as the location for the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) and its mission of understanding how to harness the power of the atom for peaceful use. That year, on the Idaho desert, the entirely new industry of commercial nuclear energy was born. As we observe that anniversary in the midst of a worldwide nuclear energy resurgence, INL is poised to double down on the mission that began all those years ago. Two reactors that helped drive innovation over the decades will continue the work: the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), built in 1959, and the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), built in 1967. While these existing test reactors have steady users, INL’s status as a site to demonstrate new reactor concepts has gained traction. Licensing activities continued for the Carbon Free Power Project, a small modular reactor (SMR) collaboration between NuScale Power and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). If the team’s plan comes to fruition, the first SMR plant in the nation could be operating at the INL Site by the mid-2020s.


Doug Andrus Distributing Company

Doug Andrus Distributing is a quality-minded company that was organized in 1937 by Doug and Veatrice Andrus during a time when succeeding at anything depended on long and difficult hours of work. The company, which had grown to 6 trucks was purchased by two of their sons, Doug and Heber, in the mid 70’s. They were raised with the philosophy that hard work, making smart decisions, and surrounding themselves with quality people could bring success, even in tough times. The company, based in Idaho Falls, ID has grown to its current size of over 270 trucks and 500 trailers and provides service to customers throughout the United States and Western Canada. The third generation of Andrus is now involved and is managing the operations of the company. The words “Always Ready to Serve You” have been at the heart of the company since its inception.



Bank of Commerce

The Bank of Commerce was opened on August 3, 1959 in Idaho Falls, Idaho by a group of local businessmen who felt there was a strong need for a community bank in this area to serve small businesses and the agricultural sector. In 2018, their employees donated over 8,100 hours to community causes and are committed to staying engaged in the communities they serve. The group pooled $8 Million in capital to fund their vision. Today, the bank has grown to over $1 Billion in assets, serves over 26,000 customers and employs over 200 people. The main branch of the bank was located at 1020 Northgate Mile. Since then, several branches have opened across Southeastern Idaho, including Idaho Falls, Shelley, Rigby, Ririe, Mud Lake, Rexburg, Driggs, Blackfoot, Pocatello, American Falls and Dillon, Montana. The Bank of commerce has earned a five-star rating from Bauer Financial for 29 consecutive years and has been called one of the strongest banks in the nation by Money magazine, a rare designation requiring strict standards for equity, profitability, liquidity and problem loans. Additionally, The Bank is consistently rated in the Top 100 Banks in Agricultural Lending nationwide (Source: FDIC statistics).


Colonial Theater/Paramount Theater

Local historian, Terry Miller, is involved in a commemorative 100 anniversary book to be published regarding the old Paramount Theater, now the Colonial Theater. He provides the following information. Owned by prominent local doctor C. M. Cline, financed by the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Idaho Falls and built by the North Pacific Construction company, work began in 1918 and by November 10th of the following year, the curtain rose on the $175,000 Colonial Theater billed as the “biggest and finest theater in Idaho.” By the late 1920s, Vaudeville and touring stage companies were dying and so was the Colonial’s original focus. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression ended local ownership when Fox studios bought the theater and changed its focus, appearance, and name. Outside the horizontal “Colonial” marquee became the vertical “Paramount” – a name that spotlight the facility for the next 60 years. Everything old is new again was the theme of the building with new owners, more remodeling, upgrading of fixtures and equipment in 1940, and 1953. The houselights went dark in 1989, the roof leaked, the furnishing rotted, it was home to hundreds of pigeons and there was talk of demolition and creation of a parking lot. In 1994, Dick Clayton, St., and his son Steve donated the theater to the Idaho Falls Arts Council, a private nonprofit organization, which launched a successful $4.2 million dollar campaign and renovated the theater and the adjacent buildings into a visual and performing arts center for the region. On March 13, 1999, the renovated 988-seat Colonial Theater reopened to the public. Today, the Colonial Theater is one of three large theaters of historical significance which still remain in Idaho. In 2014 alone, the Colonial Theater played host to over 25,000 patrons. The centennial season of the theater will begin this fall of 2019, with a year-long series of special events and performances.


Our Heritage Heroes

2019 Idaho Heritage Hero Awards
Past Idaho Heritage Achievement Awards

Past BCHA Events

2015 Parade Photos
"Idaho Day 2015" was held March 4th, 2015
"History in Print" was held in October, 2014
Five City Parks Treasures Tour
     History and Stories - held September 2014

Downtown Idaho Falls Treasure Tour
     held September 2012

Bonneville County Dinosaurs!
Community Collections Donations
2011 Parade Photos
Our January 2011 Newsletter [PDF]
2010 Parade Photos
Program from the Bonneville County Centennial Celebration (1911-2011) [PDF]

Our Newsletters

April 2014 newsletter 01.pdf
October 2014 Newsletter 02.pdf
March 2015 Newsletter 03.pdf
September 2015 newsletter 04.pdf
February 2016 Newsletter 05.pdf
September 2016 Newsletter 06.pdf
March 2017 Newsletter 07.pdf

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