In reading comments from Bob Kelley’s co-workers, it is evident that he gave so much of himself to Rend Lake College. Above and beyond his hard work was his financial investment in the institution he represented for nearly three decades.
Kelley joined Rend Lake College as the Public Information Officer on June 18, 1979. Shortly after retiring as the Director of Marketing on Sept. 1, 2006, he had amassed $10,000 in salary donations to the RLC Foundation.
For that achievement, he was presented a RLC Foundation Bronze Major Gift Award by RLC President Mark S. Kern, Thursday night, at the RLCF Annual Dinner held in Mt. Vernon.
Kelley; a former sports reporter for newspapers in Evansville, Ind., and Springfield; began his RLC career after a stint as the sports editor for an Owensboro, Ky. newspaper.
Described by RLC CFO Bob Carlock as a “go-to guy,” and commonly among the last to leave work each day, Kelley created numerous news and sports releases, college catalogs, class schedules, President’s Reports and college commercials, as well as offered many other supporting talents in his role at RLC.
Co-workers described Kelley as a loyal and dedicated employee who brought a “delightful” sense of humor with a “ready smile.” One co-worker said Kelley was “never too busy, despite his unending deadlines, to assist a fellow colleague when the need arises.”
Among the many post-workday duties the 2005 Outstanding Staff Award recipient took on were emceeing the annual Sports Banquet and other events; acting as the official book for Warriors and Lady Warriors basketball games; maintaining the team rosters for each game; assisting in the setup for annual Foundation dinners; working at the King City Barbecue Showdown, Golf Expo and other functions; and offering his assistance wherever and whenever it was needed.
On one occasion, Kelley stayed late at the on-campus Hitting Zone to offer pitching lessons to the baseball team on a night when the coach was unable to show.
His wife, Kendi, is the former Administrative Librarian at C.E. Brehm Memorial Library in Mt. Vernon. They retired together this year – just after the summer – and moved into a new home in Nicholasville, Ky. The move brings them closer to their son, Damon, daughter-in-law, Genia and grandson, Christopher.
The drive from Nicholasville to Lexington, Ky. – where Damon is a basketball coach at Lafayette High School – is less than a half-hour.
Kelley’s years of giving to the Foundation has gone toward scholarship incentives and improving the learning environment at RLC.
According to Foundation CEO Pat Kern, Kelley’s bonuses earned through working outside sports events would end up as funding for RLC athletic programs.
She said he contacted the Foundation during his last year at RLC and asked how much more he needed to donate to reach the major gift level. After hearing he was only about $1,000 away, he said he would reach his goal. After retirement and moving to Nicholasville, Kelley continued giving and reached the $10,000 mark.
The humble Kelley did not give for recognition, Kern said. He did so to be a staff member who gave back to the college that he was a part of for so many years.