By MATT KOESTERS
After nearly 40 years and an estimated 20,000 hours of volunteer service with charitable organizations throughout Indiana, Jeffersonville’s Bob McIntosh was named the recipient of the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award at the Governor’s Service Awards in Indianapolis on Monday.
“It’s kind of a humbling award,” McIntosh said. “I think there are probably many others in this community and other communities around the state that are more deserving than I am.”
Don’t let that humility fool you.
McIntosh got his start volunteering for the Clark County United Way in 1974, and since that time he’s served on a laundry list of committees, boards and teams both at the local and statewide level. When Clark County United Way merged with Metro United Way of Louisville in 1990, McIntosh kept on going.
McIntosh got his start volunteering after returning from Vietnam, where he served as a Marine combat officer.
“I saw man’s inhumanity to man at its worst,” McIntosh said. “ ... In 1974, I got involved with the Clark County United Way, and I kind of found my niche with them because I felt that they did more good for more people in more different ways than any organization in the county at the time. I found that, just the opposite of war, I saw men and women’s humanity for man at its best with the United Way and its agencies. I’ve been involved with them ever since.”
In addition to his involvement with Metro United Way, McIntosh is an active member of the Jeffersonville Rotary Club. He serves on the advisory board for RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, along with several committees at the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana. He co-chaired the 21st-Century Scholars Collaboration of Clark and Floyd Counties, where he helped ensure that as many students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades would be enrolled in the program to give them a better shot at a college education.
“Indiana is better because of Bob McIntosh’s incredible volunteer service over the last four decades,” said Lucinda Nord, vice president of the Indiana Association of United Ways. “His integrity, passion and commitment are invaluable to United Way and the many nonprofit organizations where he has served. I am in awe of his faithful contributions of leadership and on-the-ground service to others.”
More recently, McIntosh’s on-the-ground leadership was applied in the wake of the March 2 tornadoes that devastated Henryville, Marysville and other parts of Southern Indiana. McIntosh is estimated to have helped train more than 4,000 disaster-response volunteers through the Volunteer Reception Center, a Metro United Way effort. McIntosh also served on the March2Recovery finance committee.
“If I were to describe what Bob brings to our team, besides the very gift of his time, it would be that he is a remarkable visionary,” said Kerri Cokeley, associate director of community building with Metro United Way. “He sees things as they can be. He sees potential where others do not.
“More recently, Bob was awarded the Presidential Service Award for his exceptional service as a volunteer. Like many other truly committed volunteers, he volunteers not for the recognition, but for the personal satisfaction of helping others.”
McIntosh, who is retired from the real estate industry, doesn’t track the number of hours he has spent volunteering. The estimate comes from the nomination form for the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award application submitted on McIntosh’s behalf by his United Way peers. He calls volunteerism his “delightful hobby.”
“I’m just a small part of a big effort that did a lot of good for a lot of people in a lot of different ways,” McIntosh said. “I just get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”