Why the West Family Loves to Call Boise Home
When Kirstin West’s husband, Jeff, told her they were leaving Boise so he could attend law school at the University of Idaho, she told him, “We have got to come back here.”
Jeff was surprised. When they first met in his native Rexburg, at what was then Ricks College, all his southern California sweetheart could talk about was how much she hated the harsh eastern Idaho weather and that she would never, ever live in Idaho.
They were married there, and in 1997 they moved to Boise so Jeff could finish his undergraduate studies at Boise State. Kirstin worked as a clinical assistant in the Transitional Care Unit at St. Luke’s, which is where their first son, Johnathan, was born.
“I fell in love with Boise,” says Kirstin. “Everything we could want for our family is right here.”
Lincoln, their second boy, was born in Moscow, and when Jeff graduated in 2000, he decided to serve his country.
“I joined the Air Force,” Jeff explains. “As soon as I passed the bar we went to Alabama for training. We were transferred to Washington, D.C., just one week after 9/11. It was a tense time.”
They spent the next three years there, with Jeff serving as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, and had two more kids, Annahlise and Chase. Then, in 2004, Kirstin got her wish–they were reassigned to Mountain Home. They purchased a home in Boise and immediately began acquainting the whole family, which now included two more boys, Brigham and Spencer, with Boise’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle. Family hikes soon became backpacking expeditions exploring Idaho’s hidden mountain lakes.
“It’s just a great family activity,” says Jeff. “It really brings everyone together, and I don’t think there’s any place more beautiful.”
Jeff served another three years of active duty before transferring to the reserves, where he still serves in the Judge Advocate General’s office in Mountain Home Air Force Base. It was 2007 when he first hung out his own shingle, opening a law office in downtown Boise’s Alaska Building. Next door to him was another attorney, Lois Fletcher. They became good friends, and a few months later announced their partnership in the new firm of Fletcher & West, handling cases in family law as well as criminal and military law, among others.
With Jeff working full-time at the law firm, you might think Kirstin had no time for anything except the six children. But you would be wrong. She went back work at St. Luke’s, this time in the ER, and took some classes at Boise State with an eye toward a graphic design business. She ran her own commercial sign company out of her home for a few years before deciding that her true calling was medicine, so back to school she went.
By this time, Johnathan was ready to graduate from Borah High. The penchant for the outdoors fostered by his parents has turned him into an avid rock climber. That led to a job supervising the rock climbing wall at a local YMCA.
“Lincoln started out in the Optimist football program,” Kirstin says. “He was also playing lacrosse, but now that he’s starting at Borah, I think football is going to become a priority.”
“A future Bronco,” Jeff chimes in with a grin. They are both huge Bronco fans.
Annahlise spends her free time at Idaho Ice World working on her figure skating, and all three of their younger boys will all be in the Optimist football program this year.
Through it all, Jeff and Kirstin still manage to find a little time for themselves.
“We do a date night every week,” says Kirstin with a grin. “It helps keep us sane.”
“We both like Big Jud’s hamburgers,” Jeff says. “But my favorite lately has become the Harrison Hollow Brewpub.”
“I really like Bonefish Grill” adds Kirstin, “and Moon’s.”
Their choice of restaurants hasn’t always been so prolific. Kirstin suffers from celiac disease, which requires her to maintain a strictly gluten-free diet.
“That’s another thing I love about Boise,” she enthuses. “So many restaurants in our community have really stepped up with excellent gluten-free menus. It makes our date nights so much more pleasant.”
With Johnathan about to start college, and the youngest, Spencer, now in school full-time, both Jeff and Kirstin can stop and smell the roses a little more often, and truly enjoy the community they love. But, rest assured, they won’t be sitting still for very long.
Jeff’s law firm is busier than ever. Kirstin’s medical classes paid off at the end of last year, and she landed a new job at St. Luke’s as the Clinical Quality Reviewer.
“It’s a dream job for me,” Kirstin says. “The flexibility they allow me makes it great for the kids, too.”
Oh yeah, and she just ran her first Iron Man 70.3 mile triathlon in Boise this spring. I wonder who takes the lead on their backpacking trips?