Basque Center News
2012 Legacy Award Winner: Rash Iglesias
At the May monthly dinner, the recipient of the
2012 Euzkaldunak Legacy award was announced. This award is given to members whose contributions have promoted and preserved the Basque Center. The 2012 Legacy Award winner is Oracio “Rash” Iglesias.
Rash was born in Mountain Home in 1920 to Rufina Nachiondo from Ispaster and Saturnino Iglesias from Ea. His childhood focused on being near the Basque Hotel, a refuge for immigrants. Rash and his siblings enjoyed their responsibilities of tending the lambs and herding cows. For enjoyment they played handball at Ascartza’s court and made their own paletas to play with when the sheepherders were not in town.
Instrumental for Rash and his three siblings’ was social involvement in the four ostatuak of Mountain home. The dances and accordion music were a constant draw. So after time in Europe with the Signal Corps, stationed at a Royal Air Force base, Rash returned to the U.S., eventually graduating from the University of Idaho in 1949. Shortly thereafter he met his future wife Mary and together they would raise six children. As always, wanting to be near other Basques (“his people” as he calls them) he found work in Boise with the Bureau of Reclamation where he stayed for 36 years.
The Boise community was fortunate to have Rash involved because at the same time the boarding houses were closing, John Bastida took charge of founding the Basque Center. Rash was involved in initial organizational meetings, where they decided to sell $40,000 worth of bonds to pay for the construction of the building, all of which were paid back. Rash was the main fund collector for the project. As a result, the organization bought the lot from the Uberuaga family, with dances, memberships, dinners, and the Basque ladies organizations invaluable in supporting the center.
Rash’s involvement in the Basque Center continued over the years. He was secretary, treasurer, and membership committee chair from 1950-1955. After that he served on various committees, doing whatever was needed. Some of that involved recruiting Basques from other areas to join Euzkaldunak. He remembers driving to Marsing with his cousin Julian Achabal to recruit Basques to become members. He was active in attending meetings, monthly dinners, and securing finances over the years. In later years, he often would work at the fair in the Oinkari booth with Carmen Dobaran selling chorizos. He and his family have also worked at each Jaialdi, with the exception of the last one.
His legacy continues with his six children. He and his wife Mary encouraged their children’s involvement in Basque activities, including dancing with the Oinkari Dancers, and learning Basque in Jon Onatibia’s Basque classes. His grandchildren have attended the ikastola in Boise.
In conclusion Rash feels that by helping start Euzkaldunak this would help preserve the heritage and culture. He considers himself to be a person of God who was lucky enough to be born to Basque parents, who have him faith and unconditional love. He is Basque through and through, and feels happy to be a small part of the Basque culture. Rash Iglesias rightfully deserves to be honored with this year’s Legacy Award for his love of and involvement in the Basque Center.
**Nomination as originally submitted by the nominator.**