The prize honors NSNC members for extraordinary service to the organization — and Bob was a richly deserving recipient. He served 11 years on our board (eight as newsletter editor and three as secretary), created our Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, had a hand in putting together various conferences events and entire conferences, raised approximately $76,500 (!) for the NSNC, etc. Plus he has the “Legacy” of being as friendly as he is smart and hardworking.
“This is the nicest thing that has happened to me since three years ago when I retired from the NSNC board of directors and they gave me a Mark Twain bobblehead doll,” Bob said with a smile when receiving the honor on June 25 — the same night keynoter Jeanne Phillips (“Dear Abby”) spoke.
Turning more serious, Bob said, “I’ll treasure this award” — and among the people he thanked was “my wonderful wife [Mary] for all the hours she has devoted to supporting me in my pursuits.”
He added that, aside from a few moments, “I have enjoyed my experiences with NSNC — an extraordinary organization with some of the finest people I’ve ever met in its membership. My service has enhanced and enriched my retirement.”
Bob joined the NSNC in 1991 after starting a political humor column for The Daily Oklahoman, and attended his first conference in 1997 in Williamsburg, Va. Two years later, the annual Will Rogers Humanitarian Award he proposed was approved by the NSNC during its meeting in Louisville, Ky.
Later, he and Suzette Martinez Standring were instrumental in planning — and saving — the 2009 and 2013 conferences in Ventura, Calif., and Hartford, Conn., respectively.
In 2014, Bob worked with Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry, great-granddaughter of Will Rogers, to produce the memorable NSNC conference dinner in the U.S. Capitol building. And at the 2016 meeting in Los Angeles, Bob and Jennifer put together the also-memorable June 24 dinner at the Will Rogers Ranch.