Past Chair Chris Gallagher makes a touching tribute to the 2015 Chair’s Cup Award winner, Rod Warner:
One year ago as I accepted the Chair’s gavel at the 2014 Annual Meeting, I watched former chair Lisl Liang announce the 2014 Kerkering Barberio & Co.’s Chair’s Cup Recipient, Lisa Krouse. Even then I began wondering who the worthy recipient for the 2015 Chair’s Cup might be.
The Chair’s Cup, sponsored by Kerkering, Barberio & Co., is awarded every year by The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, to an outstanding individual who has made an extraordinary contribution of service to the community. It didn’t take long for me to scan the field of candidates and zero in on one individual who so clearly shown above the rest.
This individual probably has, and will have, more impact on your daily life here in Sarasota than any other individual I can think of, even at the state or national level.
Because of this individual,
- Sarasota is, and will become, an ever more aesthetically attractive place to live.
- Our air quality will be improved and we’ll use less energy.
- Sarasota will be a much safer place to live.
- You will have more art in your lives.
- Our local economy will be improved.
- There will be less of a burden on city and county finances.
- The burden of our elusive traffic problems will be mitigated.
- Your daily experience here in Sarasota, simply walking and commuting through our community will be less stressful and more enjoyable.
I’ve been in countless meetings with this individual. I’ve watched him speak. I’ve watched him listen. And I’ve watched him lead. And what I have loved about him most, is what a model he’s been for the rest of us. He has demonstrated the finest expression of what it means to be a citizen advocate and civic leader. Taking on a single, seemingly uninteresting community issue, he became a force to be reckoned with, and he changed our community.
I never saw him once use an ounce of force. I never saw him try to strong arm anyone. Despite all of the debates and all the critics, I never saw him take anything personally. Despite all of the frustrations he’s endured, even in private quarters, I never heard him criticize anyone. Smarts, patience, determination, humor and grace; those are the tools many of you have seen him use over and over again.
For this man, it’s not important to have a loud, uneducated opinion about every civic issue that stirs attention. Instead, he grabbed a non-glamorous topic and gently helped us open up to it.
I’ve often imagined what we could accomplish if more of us individuals were like him,
- willing to become well-versed experts on a topic or two,
- willing to take on long term advocacy for important topics and
- willing to help educate others
I dearly wish I could announce the recipient of the award with the pleasure of seeing him come to the lectern, sporting his friendly smile, to accept the recognition with that smooth, broadcasting-honed voice of his.
Unfortunately, our dear friend, and this year’s recipient, passed away this summer. Many of you knew him as Mr. Roundabout. Congratulations to the 2015 Chair’s Cup award winner, Rod Warner.
Chris Gallagher, Hoyt Architects