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Hord's memory lives on at W-J Library

Thursday, June 24, 2010

(Photo)
By Anna Rochelle A MAN WHO THOUGHT OF OTHERS -- One year after he passed away, a bronze statue honoring Robert E. Hord, Sr. arrived in the Worthington-Jefferson Township Public Library and will be on permanent display in recognition of all of the contributions Hord made to Worthington and Greene County. [Order this photo]
One year after Bobby Hord passed away, a bronze statue of a young boy reading a book about animals, with his faithful dog by his side, arrived at the Worthington-Jefferson Township Public Library.

The inscription reads, "In Memory of Robert E. Hord, Sr., January 31, 1934-May 12, 2009," and says simply, "A man who thought of others."

Library Director Andrea Fuller says the phrase speaks for itself.

"He was a man who thought of others," said Fuller. "It if were not for his caring and his foundation, we wouldn't have, and Worthington wouldn't have, what we have."

When Hord died last year, his family asked, in lieu of flowers or other memorials, that donations be made in his memory to the WJ Library and they left it up to the library to decide how to spend whatever donations were received.

"We wanted something permanent," said Fuller. "And we knew he and his family had bronzes in their home and he always liked this sort of thing."

Hord was born in Bloomfield, grew up in Worthington in a big family of simple means, left home to join the Army at a young age then worked his way up through the ranks to a job in the Pentagon. Back in the civilian world, he started out at the bottom of a communications technology company, the Andrew Corporation, and again worked himself up the ladder to become President of the Board. When he retired, he moved over to the top spot of the company's philanthropic foundation, the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation (ASAF). Under Hord's leadership, the ASAF gave out over 800 college scholarships and funded schools, libraries, hospitals, police and firefighting departments and facilities.

The word "funded," in Hord's case, does not mean he just made a nice donation -- it means fully funded major projects, like a library in Orland Park, Ill., the Illinois firefighters training facility, and the Worthington Municipal Building, lock, stock and barrel.

He favored educational institutions, libraries and any project connected with law enforcement officers and firefighters.

From a memorial to fallen officers in Indianapolis, to police cars for the Worthington Police Department, a sizable contribution to the county's veterans van, a bus for Glenburn, an equipment shed at a cemetery, the donations from Hord's foundation made much possible.

Hord was a rich man, but he never forgot where he came from.

Though the list is long, the public may never know about all of the things he did in Greene County because he did them quietly, many times anonymously, and never sought, and many times shunned recognition.

But now Hord's name is on a small bronze statue in his hometown library.

Fuller said it was the right thing to do -- a major addition to the library constructed a few years ago was made possible by Hord's generosity. No tax dollars were used in the project. It was funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, but when that wasn't quite enough to finish the work, Hord stepped up with a check for over $100,000 from the ASA Foundation.

"His legacy will live on long after all of us are gone," said Fuller.

The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-8 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and an invitation is extended to everyone to stop in and see the Hord bronze.

Fuller said it came from Baltimore and was handcrafted at a bronze foundry out of American bronze using the lost wax method of bronze casting. The patina with colorations of greens, browns and gold was applied by hand by skilled artisans.

After it arrived in Greene County, it was mounted on a granite the base and engraved by Austin Memorial Arts of rural Bloomfield.


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The statue is very small in comparison to the accomplishments and of the great man he was.The statue is also beautifull and almost matches his beauty, for he was a true people person.

-- Posted by toothie on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 11:04 PM


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