Press Release

'Sock Guy for Sockeye' earns national award for helping sockeye salmon

Boise 12-year-old raised $11,000 for sockeye salmon by selling custom socks and other merchandise

Twelve-year-old Topher Jones of Boise, also known as the “Sock Guy for Sockeye”, was among 25 winners of the 2020 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which annually honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant and positive difference to people and the environment. 

Jones raised nearly $11,000 for sockeye salmon and other threatened fish in the West by creating and selling custom-designed socks and other merchandise and donating all profits to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

Topher Jones, Boise, "Sock Guy for Sockeye"
Creative Commons Licence
photo courtesy of Topher Jones

“I believe you don't have to be an expert to help the world. You just need to be really motivated to do something,” Jones said. “I’ve learned that the world has so many problems, but we can come up with solutions. Everyone can help make a difference.”

Part of the proceeds from his project will pay to develop an informational kiosk and signs at Fish and Game’s Redfish Lake Creek fish trap. The kiosk will provide information about the sockeye recovery program. The trap is in a high-profile location due to its close proximity to Redfish lake  and surrounding campgrounds. The site is accessible to the public and will be enhanced with an informational kiosk, especially at times when Fish and Game staff are not available to answer people’s questions. 

The Lonesome Larry Project is named for the lone sockeye salmon that returned to Idaho in 1992. When Jones learned about the fish and the plight of sockeye salmon, he decided to help them. He designed the Lonesome Larry logo and socks, and has since added bottle openers, decals, and keychains to his line. He sells his wares at Idaho Steelhead hockey games, at coffee shops and on his website.