August 7, 2017
Story by Micah Oelze
Photo by Brandon Steinert
Each year the Barton Foundation Board chooses someone to honor with the “Old Bill” honorarium at its annual Big Benefit Auction. This year they have chosen Rob and Trisha Dove.
In 1981, the Claflin Fire Department donated a stuffed buffalo head to the foundation auction. This unique item was christened as “Old Bill” and quickly became a mainstay of this annual event being auctioned off each year since. To date, Old Bill has netted almost $220,000 in support of academic scholarships and program enhancements. Since 2002, the money generated from the sale of Old Bill has taken on an additional purpose – to honor loyal supporters and donors to Barton Community College.
Barton’s Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Coleen Cape said the Doves are an excellent representation of what it means to be a Barton supporter.
“The foundation is blessed with many loyal and generous donors. Rob and Trisha Dove certainly exemplify all of that and so much more,” she said. “I think among the greatest blessings in life are true friendships and Rob and Trisha are true friends to the foundation. They are always there when you need them, supporting and encouraging all of our efforts and initiatives.”
Rob has a history with the foundation, originating first when he learned about the organization through his mother who served on the Foundation Board during its third year. Later, Rob was presented the chance to serve on the board about 16 years ago. Rob was asked to fill in the remaining two years of a board member whose job required him to transfer. Once Rob began serving on the board he became involved and never looked back. He has served as the President and in the each of the officer positions twice. During that period, Rob and Trisha supported every fundraiser, campaign and initiative of the foundation. In 2010, the Doves established the annually funded Dove Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac scholarship and in 2014 established the Dove Family Memorial Endowment.
“It is a fun organization to be involved with. It makes you feel great knowing funds raised go directly to the students of Barton Community College,” he said. “Once I was on the board and got involved with the board I became enthused with the board. I got enthused with the whole Foundation and what it stands for.”
Through his many years of service, Rob has seen the impact the Foundation has on students at Barton.
“The number one thing is scholarships,” he said. “Not only myself but other board members and donors have seen directly through thank you notes and thank you calls what the fundraising does. That interaction is fantastic.”
Rob said he and his wife are honored to be nominated.
“We are very humbled and appreciative the foundation would choose us to be the honoree of that wonderful award,” he said.
Cape said she and the foundation are grateful for the support they have received from the Doves.
“Words of thank you are just not always enough to truly express our gratitude. So, we are proud to be able to put those words into action by honoring them as the 2017 Old Bill Honorarium recipients,” she said. “We can only hope this will express how very much their continued relationship with the foundation means to us and to the students who benefit from their unselfish dedication to helping others.”
Rob encourages everyone to contact the foundation and to purchase a ticket for this year’s Big Benefit Auction to help the foundation.
“You’ll have a blast, even if you don’t win anything,” he said. “We always have fun at the Big Benefit Auction.”
Rob and Trisha have pledged to match the first $5,000 raised in the “Old Bill” auction.
Additional auction items range from a 50-inch big-screen TV, weekend getaway trips, a washer and dryer set, Traeger grill and more.
Tickets for the auction, themed “Under the Sea,” are for sale through Aug. 14. Only 200 tickets are available.
Tickets can be purchased for $45 each or $360 per table of eight by calling the Barton Foundation office at (620) 786-1136, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . No tickets sold at the door.
The auction is the Barton Foundation’s main fundraiser for academic scholarships and program enhancements. The event is set for 6 p.m. August 26 at the Great Bend Columbus Club and the live auction starts at 8 p.m.