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2020 medallion honors Idaho's women veterans

Posted at 9:06 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-11 00:32:30-04

IDAHO — The 2020 veterans medallion, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Women's Suffrage, is celebrating all of Idaho's women veterans.

One of those veterans is Nampa native, Kay Gott.

“We were honored Kay would have loved it gosh she was a person that was larger than life and did a lot during her life,” said Kay's nephew, Daniel Gott.

Kay flew military aircraft during World War II, across the U.S.

“She was tilling lettuce in Nampa when word came to her that there was a need for women pilots, there were no pilots available," said Daniel.

She dropped everything to serve her country.

“Out of the 1800 Women Air Service Pilots, it’s also important to remember that thirty-eight of these women also died in service of flying these planes," said Daniel. "They were test pilots in all essence the plane comes out of the factory they would fly them to where they needed to go."

This year's medallion honors Kay, but also four other women veterans.

Judith Blake Eighmy, a U.S. Navy nurse during Vietnam, Navy veteran Wanda Pollard, ammunition specialist serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Carrie French, and USO Officer during World War II, Carmelita Pope are also honored on the medallion.

“In 2003, the first medallion was mended, and it had five men on it, and so this medallion we just replaced it with five women," said State Treasurer, Julie Ellsworth. "In honor of the service that they have done and also to recognize Idaho's women's right to vote as well as nationally."

The women veterans are depicted on the medallion next to four stars that symbolize that Idaho was the fourth state to let women vote.

“My aunt would be honored and thrilled to be there, but she would also point to the other women that served our country and what they sacrificed," said Daniel.

“These people, oh, they are just so three-dimensional you see their families you see just ordinary people who went out and did extraordinary things at very difficult times in history,” said Ellsworth.

The medallion is sold at the Warhawk Museum, the Idaho State Museum, the Capitol Gift Shop, and the State's Treasurer's Office.

All proceeds will go towards funding Idaho's veteran's cemeteries.

“It’s a great coin to have for the family. I was thrilled with the ceremony, Governor Little was there, and the Warhawk museum is a great museum," said Daniel. "Kay flew. I swear you walk around, and she flew AT6s, and she flew P51. She flew all those things. The woman had to, and she would have loved to see that coin.”

To learn more, click here.