Former Idaho governor hosts namesake for dinner
When Douglas Kempthorne was called into the principal’s office at Gonzaga Preparatory School it wasn’t a reprimand that was waiting for him. It was a dinner invitation from Dirk Kempthorne, former governor of Idaho and the man the teen is named after.
“It was great meeting him,” said Douglas, who graduated this month from Gonzaga Prep.
Douglas’ parents named him after Dirk Kempthorne because the governor played a big role in bringing them to the Inland Northwest from their home country, Rwanda.
Douglas’ father, Theo Mbabaliye, was studying at the University of Idaho when genocide broke out in Rwanda. Gov. Kempthorne helped him get his wife, Immaculee Mukakalisa, to the United States. As a tribute to Kempthorne, the couple named Douglas after him. That story was told in a profile of Douglas that ran as part of The Spokesman-Review’s graduation section on May 22. The governor’s assistant saw the story and arranged the meeting.
Douglas said dinner with his mother and Gov. Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia Kempthorne, at the Hagadone Event Center at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Lake Coeur d’Alene was great.
“He gave me his governor coin in this official coin exchange,” Douglas said. “You shake hands while you are both holding the coin.”
The governor also gave Douglas communion.
“He dipped bread in wine and gave it to me at dinner,” Douglas said. “He told me he believes that we are all connected to God and we can share the body of Christ anywhere.”
Douglas will study at Gonzaga University this fall and hopes to attend medical school.
What did his friends have to say about his dinner adventure?
“They thought it was very cool,” Douglas said. “It was pretty amazing just to be there.”