Girls State delegate follows father's footsteps

When asked which governmental agency she would like to spend the day with as part of the American Legion Auxiliary Syringa Girls State leadership program, Brooke Roney didn’t hesitate.

Her dad, Clint Roney, is a transportation technician senior in District 1. That made Brooke’s choice of the Idaho Transportation Department simple.

“My dad is working on the (Sand Creek) Bypass,” Brooke says proudly. “I haven’t had the chance yet to tell him about choosing ITD.”

After several days in the Boise area, she now has a lot of stories to take back with her to Bonners Ferry where she is an honors student and heavily involved in student council activities. Brooke has one more year of high school and then hopes to attend Idaho State University in Pocatello – a good 12 hours from home by car. “It will be like going out of state for college, yet paying in-state tuition.”

The first stop of Brooke’s four-hour ITD tour was District 3 offices where she rode in an aerial lift with bridge and building crewman Rob Medley. The lift expands to a height of 65-feet. Was she scared? “A little,” she admitted. “It gets a little shaky up there.”

Thanks to D-3 hazardous materials coordinator Dan Bryant, Brook also got to take control of a backhoe and learn the fine art of scooping de-icer. She dug up some sand and dumped it three or four times. She then headed off to the ITD Sign Shop where Signing Services Manager Brett Purvis and Greg Wozniak, sign fabricator/screen printer, explained the history of highway sign making and showed the steps of making a sign.

Other members of ITD’s sign crew who create highway signs include Mike Mcguire, Dan Barrera and Paul Hart.

Those who have never been to the sign shop no doubt would find the latest advancements fascinating – such as the switch from glass beads to prisms for better reflectability. Purvis is good at teaching his brand of “sign language.”

Brooke was introduced to D-3 engineer and Vista Interchange project manager Jayme Coonce along with transportation technician Amy Bower. On-site at the Vista Bridge, Jayme and Amy showed the high school senior the layers of a road, explaining how the concrete or asphalt is just the top coating on several layers of strategically placed soil and rock. “That’s the part that supports the traffic that moves on top of the road,” Coonce explains.

Bower demonstrated how she measures and then “pays out” contractors for work done. “Don’t listen to what the other kids say,” she told Brooke, while reciting a mathematical formula to go along with the measuring. “I use what I learned in Algebra II every day!”

Finally, the Girl’s State delegate toured the Division of Aeronautics boarded the state’s King Air turboprop airplane. She was flattered to sit in a seat often occupied by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on official state trips.

Before stepping inside the aircraft, however, ITD Director Brian Ness along with ITD Board Chairman Darrell Manning and ITD District 6 Board member Lee Gagner walked into the hanger. They had just toured the district and were heading back to Headquarters.

So, Brooke paused for another photo to put in her album before rejoining other delegates at the Idaho Capitol.

Will she sport an orange or fluorescent green ITD vest and hard hat someday and follow in her father’s footsteps?

“Oh, I want to get a degree in zoology and then join the Peace Corps,” she said with a determined smile. “I want to actually teach in the Peace Corps for a few years and then I hope to have a career working with large animals at a zoo.”

She’s especially fond of big cats – the kind with four legs, not wheels.

Published 6-25-2010