Bobby Lyle would prefer no surprises, but he had an evening packed with delightful astonishments on November 19. That’s when Methodist Health System Foundation honored him as the 2014 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award recipient on the 10th anniversary of its signature fundraiser. Established in 2005, the award recognizes individuals whose demonstrated commitment and excellence in community leadership emulate the achievements of former Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom. Because of Lyle’s commitment to education, he designated that the funds raised, which totaled just more than $1.5 million, would go to support medical education at Methodist, including residency and post-graduate fellowship training for physicians.
Each year, the event is personalized to honor the recipient, and this year was no exception. The first surprise was the Master of Ceremonies, Lt. Colonel William Mockabee of The Salvation Army, a friend who led the Dallas office before being promoted to Sri Lanka and New York’s headquarters. “Tonight is all about Bobbly Lyle and his favorite things. His favorite food, his favorite people, his favorite work, his favorite business ventures, his favorite work, his favorite business ventures—well, you get the idea. This guy is non-stop energy and work, especially in service to help others.”
Dr. William Lawrence, Dean of SMU Perkins School of Theology and Lyle’s great friend, gave the invocation.
David Miller, event co-chair, welcomed an audience of more than 800, including many of Lyle’s friends who surprised him by coming from near and far to honor him. “Carolyn and I are honored to serve with Linda and Mitch Hart as co-chairs of this incredible event honoring our dear and longtime friend, Bobby Lyle. I want to give special thanks to this evening’s Honorary Co-chairs Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt and Renda and Rex Tillerson.”
Linda and Mitch Hart, event co-chairs, brought another surprise “friend” on stage as Linda told a story. “About 20 years ago in Nevis when Bobby and Mitch were playing a round of golf, Bobby’s errant golf shot caused his ball to fly through a palm tree and hit a monkey in the head causing it to fall from the tree. At Bobby’s 70th birthday party, we presented him with a monkey we named Little Bobby B., and he wondered what he was going to do with it. We finally told him that his real gift was a donation to the Dallas Zoo to have the next monkey born at the zoo named Little Bobby B. Tonight, we’ve brought you a descendant of Little Bobby B. named Mikey.”
April Box Chamberlain, Methodist Health System Foundation president and CEO, presented Bobby with a stuffed “Bobby B.” monkey and assured him that it would not be crawling all over him (referring to how Mikey had earlier crawled all over Mitch Hart while on stage. Chamberlain congratulated Bobby as the 10th recipient of the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award. “You truly represent Bob Folsom’s legacy of love and commitment of service to our community.” She added her thanks to the Lupe Murchison Foundation and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt for being the first-ever presenting sponsors and recognized the Folsom family and the past recipients and family in attendance.
Chamberlain called to the stage Joy Duncan, Methodist vice president of development, and thanked her for creating a decade of memorable and successful events. The two introduced an energetic video showcasing extraordinary participants and surprises of the past ten Folsom events, including two former presidents of the United States, two former First Ladies, Harley-Davidson motorcycles encircling the ballroom, NFL Hall of Famers, U.S. Secretary of State, NBA owner and coach—just to name a few!
Following dinner, Col. Mockabee introduced Clifton Forbis, chairman of the voice department at SMU. As Lyle is huge champion and supporter of SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Forbis performed a parody of the Beattles’ song “Let it Be,” entitled “Bobby B.” One stanza summed him up perfectly: “And if you need a leader from throughout our great community. There’s just one answer, Bobby B. For though some may describe him with obsessive/compulsive tendencies, he’ll find the perfect answer, Bobby B.” During the chorus, the audience turned on their party favors flashlights branded with “Bobby B.” and waved them to emulate a rock concert.
After the special song, a tribute video included congratulations from Dr. Ken Blanchard, Pat Currie, Ray Hunt, Dr. Marc Christensen, Brent Christopher, Brent Jackson, Jim Gibbs, Dr. Gerald Turner, Rex Tillerson and more. Organizers cleverly incorporated the “Most Interesting Man in the World” theme and hilarious phrases, transforming Lyle into the bearded celebrity as seen on the popular television commercials.
After the video, the Circle Ten Boy Scouts Silver Eagle Band made a surprise entrance and played the SMU fight song as the Boy Scouts organization is near and dear to his heart.
Chamberlain and Mockabee then presented the Folsom Award to Bobby Lyle. “April and I are proud to present you as tonight’s ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ and recipient of the 2014 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award, Bobby B. Lyle.” The audience gave Lyle a standing ovation.
Lyle graciously accepted the award and gave closing remarks. “Mike Boone (2012 honoree) told me that receiving the Folsom would be like an out of body experience, and he was right. Thank you to Methodist for this recognition. To be included is truly humbling. There will never be anyone who appreciates it more than I do. I met Bob Folsom when I was a 29-year-old at SMU’s Cox School of Business. Bob was a friend, an investor, a role model, so this award is something I will treasure.” He added, “I’m so impressed with the medical community, with the men and women ensuring our good health. Methodist stands like a beacon offering state of the art medical care.”
Lyle joins an illustrious list of past recipients: Robert S. Folsom (2005), Nancy Ann Hunt (2006), Troy Aikman (2007), Laura Bush (2008), the late Norman Brinker (2009), Pat and Emmitt Smith (2010), Trevor Rees-Jones (2011), Mike Boone (2012), and Rev. Mark Craig (2013).
For information about supporting the next Robert S. Folsom Award, please contact Methodist Health System Foundation President and CEO April Box Chamberlain at 214-947-4555. More information is available at Foundation.MethodistHealthSystem.org/Folsom.
About Methodist Health System
Guided by the founding principles of life, learning and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas. Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. Connect with them through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at www.methodisthealthsystem.org/socialmedia.