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  • Writer's pictureMarc Johnson

An Idaho Treasure

Marilyn Shuler – Great Citizen

The wonderful Marilyn Shuler will be honored this weekend with the Light of Philanthropy Award presented annually by St. Luke’s Hospital.

It is difficult to believe there could be a more worthy recipient.

For years, Marilyn Shuler was the face of human rights in Idaho as she led the state’s Human Rights Commission with a quiet grace and a steely commitment to dignity all enforced with the rule of law.

I had the rare pleasure of working closely with Marilyn during my time in Idaho state government. She was a role model, a powerful leader and a true moral force for good. One of my proudest moments was having a very small hand – Marilyn had a very big hand – in creating the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Idaho.

Sadly, Idaho was one of the last states to recognize the remarkable accomplishments of Dr. King, but perhaps even more importantly to honor a society’s commitment to human rights. It would never have happened without Marilyn’s unflinching courage in overcoming the hidebound opposition to honoring Dr. King and then-Governor Cecil Andrus’ determination to not allow the state to suffer a black eye by failing to publicly embrace a just and overdue cause.

Beyond her singular successful career devoted to the human rights of others, Marilyn also served with distinction on the Boise School Board, helped manage public employees retirement dollars and guided the creation of the Anne Frank Memorial in Boise. That is a decidedly partial list of accomplishments. Along the way, she touched a million lives.

Every once in a while you see that someone is receiving the kind of public recognition they really deserve. This is such a moment.

Dr. King once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?'”

Marilyn Shuler has answered that question with a lifetime of service to others. She is an Idaho treasure.

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