Lambert receives prestigious award

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Troy Exchange Club has named former Troy University track coach Bob Lambert as the 2009 recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds.

The award is given annually to one member of the community whose deeds would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Lambert accepted the award with the same humility that he leads his life.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s very humbling to be recognized with an award like this, and it means a lot to me,” Lambert said. “But there are many in our community who do so much, and it could have gone to any one of them.”

For Lambert, the recognition came for doing what just comes naturally with him and what gives his life greater purpose – service to others.

Lambert grew up in a town with a population of 500. Years later, Bill Gates would put the little community of Redmond, Washington on the map. But when Lambert was a young boy, it was his dad who made his mark on the town.

“I guess my dedication to community service is an off-shoot of my father,” Lambert said. “I grew up watching him, and he was very committed to our community. He was a member of the Lions Club and organized the Little League Baseball program. It didn’t matter to him — whatever was going on in the community, my father was involved in it.”

Lambert left Redmond when he was 17 years old. As a career Air Force officer, he never did ‘light down” long enough to identify with a community. He and his family moved 18 times in 28 years. So, when he retired and came to Troy in 1993, he was ready to plug into the community.

“I wanted to be involved in the community like my father had been,” he said. “I visited different clubs and organizations and decided that the Troy Exchange Club was were I needed to be. The club was very patriotic and involved in the prevention of child abuse, fire prevention and crime prevention and I decided, ‘I want to be a part of that.’”

Not only did Lambert plug into the Troy Exchange Club, he also became actively involved in his church, Bush Memorial Baptist Church.

“The college ministry was very important to me,” he said. “We started with four kids, and God grew it. The college ministry, which is now under the director of Ellis Bush, Jr. now numbers about 100.

When Kim May, director of the Salvation Army Service Center in Troy, asked Lambert if the Exchange Club would be involved in the Red Kettle campaign, he didn’t hesitate.

“I didn’t ask the club,” he said, with a smile. “I knew they would.” In previous years, Red Kettle bell ringers had to be paid. With the Exchange Club and others volunteering their time, the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign raised more money than ever before.

“We were glad to be a part of it and it was neat to see it happen.”

Lambert’s pro-life position made him an ideal choice to serve on the board of the Women’s Life Center.

“We are a working board, and being a member of this board is extremely important to me,” he said. “And, I enjoy continuing to work with students. Coaching has been a big part of my life, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to coach the ‘throwers’ at Troy University.”

Of all the service opportunities that he has had, Lambert said there is none more important than chairing the Pastor Search Committee at Bush Memorial.

“To bring God’s man here to Bush is as important as anything that I have done,” he said.

Lambert had a distinguished career in the Air Force. He served two tours in Vietnam and flew 450 combat hours and was awarded three Air Medals. After his retirement from the Air Force, Lambert, who finished fifth in javelin in the 1968 U.S. Olympic Trials, came to Troy University where he started the university’s Division I cross country track and field program in the summer of 1993. He served as Troy University’s track coach for 14 years, won eight conference championships and was named Coach of the Year seven times.

Lambert is a deacon, choir member, Sunday school teacher, food bank committee volunteer and chairman of the Pastor Search Committee at Bush Memorial Baptist Church and has been on five mission trips.

He is a board member of Legacy Ministries and a board member and public relations director for the Women’s Life Center.

For the past 15 years, he has been a member of the Troy Exchange Club and has served as secretary, president-elect, president and as a member of the board for seven years.

“Much of Bob’s service is a matter of public record but what is not a matter of public record are the many ways that Bob has made himself available as a mentor to students and athletes,” said Larry Fogelberg, Exchange Club member. “I can remember him and his wife taking care of Nirmarla Subedi and arranging for her return to Nepal. Nirmarla was one of the Nepalese university students who were seriously injured in automobile accident several years ago.

“It’s not customary for the Exchange Club to honor one of its own, but it is one small way in which we can say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’” Fogelberg said. “I’m honored to count Coach Lambert as a friend and colleague. He is one of the local treasures we share in Pike County and one of the reasons this is such a wonderful place to live.”