Bright Spot

Jerry Colvin says she has put her wild days behind her, but she still finds a way to spice things up at the Idaho Falls Senior Citizen Community Center.

Whether it’s running with dogs in search of dead bodies, competing in marksmen competitions or doing the can-can, Jerry Colvin always manages to please her inner thrill-seeker, camouflaged by her sweet and innocent-looking exterior.

Colvin, 81, of Idaho Falls, lives a full life. Her longest standing charitable affiliation is working for the Bonneville Sheriff’s Search &Rescue. She has been a member since 1960. Her first search was for a missing child east of Idaho Falls; Colvin and her team discovered the 3-year-old had drowned.

“I still remember,” she said. “It’s hard when you see that. I think we were all sick. But I think that’s what we were put on earth for — to help people.”

Colvin spent 43 years working at Idaho National Laboratory. She started as a night clerk and retired as a senior administrator in 1995.

True to her reputation, she found a way to make even a desk job exciting.

At a Christmas party in the early ’80s, Colvin convinced three other women to perform the can-can with her. One of the dancers was co-worker Janice Hahn, who today volunteers alongside Colvin at the Idaho Falls Senior Citizens Community Center.

“The three of us wore high heels,” Hahn said. “Jerry, being the clown she is, came out in combat boots. Everything we did, she did the opposite. At the end, instead of raising her skirt, she turned around and mooned them with red underwear on.”

One of Colvin’s former pastimes was competing in marksmen competitions with the Bonneville County Sheriffs Department. She took home third-place a couple of times.

“I got rid of most of my guns, but I was best with a Marlin,” she said. “I liked the .35 lever-action rifle.”

Today, she spends 30 hours a week volunteering at the senior center, where she works the front desk and teaches people how to play bridge.

Folks around the senior center are quick to say she is the first to offer help. Helen Stanton, volunteer ombudsman coordinator for Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, said Colvin has logged 3,408 hours and driven 9,109 miles since she started with the organization in 1996.

“Whenever there is a need, Jerry is there,” Stanton said.