Vault: Winter heroes receive praise for actions

The department has been committed to serving citizens and communities since the very beginning, as this story from the East Idaho area in the winter of 1981-82 shows — even when the outcome is uncertain.

While every maintenance man putting in long hours fighting the snowdrifts this winter could be considered a hero, it is impossible to single out many simply because they take their work in stride with little or no publicity. Occasionally, recognition is given, but many of our employees are unaware of it. The following Associated Press story appeared in the Idaho Falls Post Register Jan. 7, 1982.

POCATELLO (AP) – A Soda Springs infant died enroute to a Pocatello hospital early Tuesday morning, despite heroic efforts by Idaho Department of Highways crews, working to guide a Caribou County ambulance through some 60 miles of roads closed by drifting snow that cut visibility at times to zero.

Idaho State Police Cpl. Dennis Abrams said doctors at Caribou Memorial Hospital called the sheriff's office at 3:58 a.m. and requested an ambulance for the transfer of young William John Daybrest III, born earlier this week, after he developed unspecified respiratory and abdominal complications.

He said plow and sander trucks driven by Guy Roper, foreman at the highway department's Soda Springs station, and Tom Moore, cleared a single lane for the ambulance, carrying young Daybrest and his grandparents, as far as the Fish Creek Summit on U.S. 30, where a third highway truck from the McCammon station met the group.

Abrams said winds had built snow drifts as deep as three feet in some places. Unconfirmed reports indicated drifts had reached as much as five feet west of the summit.

Roper and Moore turned back from the summit to guide the ambulance (following Duane Higgins) to Interstate 15 at McCammon, which was open. During the almost two-hour journey in near-blizzard conditions, the infant apparently developed further trouble around Inkom, 10 miles south of Pocatello, and a nurse inside the ambulance was unable to reverse Daybrest's worsening condition.

Published 02-15-19