Seventy people gathered at the Butterfield Trail Village Lodge in Fayetteville on Jan. 26 to honor Robert A. (“Bob”) Cross as the 2019 recipient of the Neil Compton Award. The award is given to individuals who embody the inspiration, dedication, and perseverance of the Ozark Society’s Founder and first president, Dr. Neil Compton, in conserving our natural treasures and resources in the Ozarks and surrounding regions.
The room was full, the conversation was at a high decibel level, and the food and drink were abundant. Tom Perry, chair of the Highlands Chapter which hosted the event, opened the program by welcoming the guests. As Bob was presented with a plaque and handmade wood puzzle, Ozark Society President David Peterson remarked how Bob’s steady investigation and analysis of the handbooks, reports, and data regarding the permitting and operation of the C&H hog farm was key to the dissolution of the farm. Patti Kent, a member of the Highlands Chapter, described her first hiking adventures back in the 1990s with Bob as hike leader. Janet Parsch read the nomination letter that she and Luke Parsch had written to nominate Bob for the award. Luke Parsch, Ozark Society Vice President, presented Bob with a gift certificate.
Text from the nomination letter included: “Over the past 20-plus years, Bob has been indefatigable in promoting and guiding the three-fold mission of the Ozark Society—Conservation, Education, Recreation.”
Bob was Ozark Society Vice-President for six years and then President for another six years, and has continued to serve on the OS Board of Directors since 2014. He has organized hiking trips to Utah and to the Arkansas Big Woods to search for the ivory-billed woodpecker, and was the Outings Chair for the Highlands Chapter for nine years. “In sum, Bob’s commitment, energy, expertise, and simple presence have refreshed the Ozark Society in specific—and the Arkansas environment more broadly—with a positive, healthier, and more robust outlook for the future.”
Congratulations, Bob Cross, for being named the 25th recipient of the Ozark Society Neil Compton Award.