Source: The News-Enterprise
Dr. Robert E. “Bob” Robbins has approached life in the same way Boy Scouts advance to the rank of Eagle Scout: through dedication and commitment. The 83-year-old has been chosen to receive the 2017 Hardin County Distinguished Citizen Award from the Lincoln Trail District of the Lincoln Heritage Council, Boy Scouts of America.
“I don’t feel deserving,” he said. “I think there are a lot of other people that are more deserving than I am of this award. I’m just doing what I intended to do after I finished my schooling, and that’s have fun.”
A native of Lexington, Robbins recalls his days in Cub Scouts about 75 years ago and events such as the Soapbox Derby.
Soapbox racing cars were constructed out of simple materials and relied solely on gravity for movement and speed, he said.
“It was on a steep hill that went from West Main Street down by the Lexington Cemetery,” he said.
The most memorable recollection was witnessing another boy injured that day. In his mind, he still can hear the boy’s cries for help and see the mass of adults and spectators rushing to his aid.
Perhaps that incident served as an early catalyst for Robbins’ devotion to helping others and his community.
Robbins completed undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky, attended the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the University of Louisville School of Medicine for surgical training.
A U.S. Army veteran, Robbins served two years as assistant chief of surgery at the 196th Station Hospital in Paris, France.
The young physician, whose father owned one of the banks in Lexington, knew he easily could become a “society” doctor, but he always had a desire in his heart to live in a small town in Kentucky.
He found his way to Muhlenberg County and the coal mines in the western portion of the state and worked four years in Greenville.
It was a rewarding practice for Robbins until the hospital he worked at went on strike. He said he discovered right away a hospital will not run without cafeteria staff, orderlies, nurse’s aides and a janitorial staff.
“The United Mine Workers Union decided they were going to try to unionize the hospital,” Robbins said. “Everybody went on strike except the doctors and the nurses.”
The hospital remained on strike for several months.
He relocated to Elizabethtown on Nov. 15, 1968, and says he still is having fun.
“I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day in my life yet,” he said. “I just enjoy living.”
The former chief of surgery and chief of staff at Hardin Memorial Hospital is proud of the health care he has been able to assist in providing for Hardin and neighboring counties. He established Surgical Specialists and Imaging Services and continually seeks and solicits new medical talent for the area.
Now retired from surgery, he remains a business entrepreneur and philanthropist. As a venture capitalist, he has invested in many start-up and early-stage companies including 3DRs and ZirMed Inc.
He has a lengthy history of community involvement.
Robbins served as the first vice president of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, served as president of the Elizabethtown Lions Club and invested 10 years as founder and president of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Charity Ball, which has raised more than $100,000 for local charities.
In addition to donating time and talent, Robbins has donated land to Hospice and Severns Valley Baptist Church and is instrumental to the planned state-of-the-art Crowne Pointe Multiplex on Dolphin Drive.
“I hope to continue to work to make the lives of our citizens better and more meaningful,” Robbins said. “I believe this is my mission.”
Robbins will receive the award at a dinner in his honor at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown.
The award celebrates leaders in the community who portray similar values as Scouting: good citizenship and service to others.
Through the Hardin and LaRue County Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, money is raised to support Scouting programs in the community. To obtain tickets for the reception and dinner, contact Robert Burns, director of finance services of the Lincoln Heritage Council, at 502-361-2626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.