Grand Marshalls chosen for 2007 Elmore County Fair

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Vicki and Dale Smith, of Glenns Ferry, chosen as Grand Marshalls for 2007 Elmore County Fair.

The Elmore County Fair Board has selected Dale and Vicki Smith of Glenns Ferry to be the Grand Marshals for this year's Elmore County Fair and Rodeo, scheduled for the week of July 23-29 at the Elmore County Fairgrounds in Glenns Ferry.

"This year's theme is 'Honoring our Military-Past, Present and Future."

"We chose the Smiths because he has served our military, and he is helping the veterans, and has a son who is a lieutenant colonel selectee, so he (Dale) fits all those criteria," said Fair Board Manager Kate Akerson.

"We chose Vicki as well, because the spouse is just as important in a person's military career," she added. She also has a long history with the Elmore County Fair and has served on the fair's board of trustees.

Vicki was involved with the Elmore County Fair when it started up in Glenns Ferry in the early 1960s.

"I remember showing my 4-H steers over in the corner by the exit gate the summer of 1962. There were no buildings at that time. It was my last year in 4-H and I had two steers. One was wilder than a hare and I never did get him broken to lead," Vicki recalled.

"My father (John C. Parke) was on the fair board that year and talked me into running for queen (it wasn't the rodeo). They had to sell tickets to something to see who the winner was going to be. I didn't win, but Mary Alyce Wilson from Hammett won and rode on the back of a truck in a parade.

"I had forgotten all about it until Jim Phillips showed up at the fair three or four years ago with a photo of all the queen contestants on the back of the truck."

Vicki and Dale have been involved with many aspects of the Elmore County Fair.

"My dad, brothers, Bernard Smith and even Dale got involved in building the race track portion of the fairgrounds in 1963. Paramutual betting had just been made legal in Idaho, so they decided to make a track for the horses to run on and had some good races there until Boise's race track started up. Then the track was used mostly for training."

Calling Dale a "figurehead" for military personnel in the area, Vicki said they both hope their Grand Marshal status will enlighten the public to the contributions made by all military personnel-- past, present and future --to their county and community.

Dale is the commander of Post 3646, Veterans of Foreign Wars (Glenns Ferry) and is respected for his ability to get "things done," Ackerson said. "It is not unusual to hear someone comment, 'If you need something done, call Dale Smith.' He has an uncanny knack for spurring people into action," whether as commander of Post 3646, or past president of the Glenns Ferry Chamber of Commerce.

Vicki helps organize activities for the Post 3646 Ladies Auxiliary, and volunteers with the Elmore County Fair. She is a past member of the Fair Board, and literally "stands by her man" as he pursues his many community activities, Ackerson said.

The Smiths are active in the Three Island Crossing Organization, where Dale serves as president. The organization is responsible for coordinating activities during the annual Three Island Crossing reenactment held each August at Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry.

The couple also participate in the Reading Buddies program at Glenns Ferry Elementary School, and Dale is an assistant baseball coach for Glenns Ferry High School.

Dale is a transplant to Elmore County, having made the area his home after retiring from the US Air Force in 1994. Vicki, on the other hand, is a native Idahoan.

Dale was born in Riverdale, Md., and Vicki was born in Twin Falls.

The couple met while attending the University of Idaho. Vicki got Dale's attention one day while in chemistry lab when she accidentally started Dale's hand on fire!

"He had some powdered chemical in his hand. He said his hand was getting hot so I flipped some water on it. It started smoking and got really hot," Vicki recalled.

At the time, University of Idaho was a Land Grant College and all male freshman and sophomores were required to take ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps). Dale had already decided that he wanted to be a pilot and knew he would receive the training he wanted by joining the Air Force, and therefore joined the Air Force ROTC.

Dale and Vicki were married in August of 1963 in King Hill. Their first child, Sheila, was born in Moscow while they were still students there. Their first military assignment was in Laredo, Texas, for pilot training, where their son, H.D., was born.

From there they went to Langley AFB, Va., where Dale started flying C-130s. He had the opportunity to spend a lot of time flying in Europe during that assignment and Vicki taught school.

The family also had tours of duty in Ubon, Thailand (Dale only); Little Rock, Ark.; Clark AFB, Philippines; Montgomery, Ala.; Mountain Home AFB; Luke AFB, Ariz.; back to Langley AFB; Misawa, Japan; and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

Dale earned the rank of colonel and held both Command Pilot Wings and the Master Maintenance Badge. He accumulated over 5,500 hours of flying time, with 750 of that in combat.

His last assignment involved being in charge of all aircraft maintenance in the Pacific Air Command Air Force (PACAF).

His decorations include: Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

He holds a BS in Education from the University of Idaho and Masters in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas.

Vicki holds a BS degree from the University of Idaho and an MA degree from the College of Idaho (now Albertson's College.) She spent several years teaching school and then worked for several different colleges and universities as the Director of Off-Campus Programs.

Both are now retired.

Dale retired in 1994. Although a native of Maryland, Dale fell in love with Idaho and has called it home since he started college at the University of Idaho in 1961.

Vicki is a 5th generation Idahoan, so coming back to Idaho after accompanying her military husband around the globe for 27 years was always the plan. They now live on the family ranch in King Hill.

Besides serving as commander of Post 3646, Dale also is a past State Commander.

He is the treasurer for the Glenns Ferry Chamber of Commerce and a member of the GEM Community organization.

He is a member of the Idaho Community Foundation Board.

He has been a major supporter of the Elmore County Fair for the last 10 years.

Vicki is the president of the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and District 6 and the Chief of Staff (2006-2007) at the State Level.

She has been a member of the Glenns Ferry Health Clinic Board of Directors for eight years. She has been on the Elmore County Public Safety Communications Board (E-911) for seven years and held the chairmanship for two of those years.

She was instrumental in getting the rural areas of King Hill and Glenns Ferry addressed for the Enhanced 911 project.

She also sat on the Elmore County Fair Board for five years and served as its chairman for one year.

She has been involved with the open class portion of the fair for 10 years and is currently the Open Class Registrar.

Vicki belongs to the GEM Community group and is a member of the Perceptor Omega Sorority and the Snake River Artisans groups.

The Smiths were named 1998 Citizens of the Year by the Glenns Ferry Chamber of Commerce in recognition of their volunteer service.

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