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David R. ObeyDavid R. Obey

Heritage Foundation

David R. Obey

2005 Heritage Foundation Award Winner

Seventh District Wisconsin Congressman David R. Obey was honored as the eighth recipient of the Marshfield Clinic Heritage Foundation Award at a ceremony held at Marshfield Clinic, Thursday, October 27.

Marshfield Clinic President Frederic P. Wesbrook, M.D., presented the award, describing Obey as a fair man of principles and hard work, a man of his word and someone who has made significant contributions to making other's lives better. Also honoring Obey were Marshfield Clinic Executive Director Reed Hall as master of ceremonies; guest speakers Melvin R. Laird, former statesman and U.S. Secretary of Defense; Jerry Madison, former District Office Representative; and Greg Nycz, Marshfield Clinic Director of Health Policy and Family Health Center, Inc.

The inscription on the Heritage Foundation Award recognized Obey for his “passion for the Institution of Congress exhibited by historic accomplishments on ethics reform and continued commitment to open committee activities and transparency in government.” The award also noted Obey’s hard work and vision about how individuals in government should work with each other to best serve the people, as well as his efforts to be a bridge between parties and to keep focus on the best interests of the people. “Your passion for the people is undisputable,” Dr. Wesbrook said. “Your vision of health care for all and Marshfield Clinic’s mission of high quality health care, research and education provide us with much common ground on which to work together. We have in the past and we will in the future. For your accomplishments, your efforts and for your character and generosity of spirit, the physicians and staff of Marshfield Clinic thank you. On their behalf, I have the honor of presenting you the 2005 Heritage Foundation Award.”

In accepting the award, Obey thanked all those in attendance and hailed Marshfield Clinic as a leading health care institution. “When I think of Marshfield Clinic, I think of two things: excellence and humanity. I thank you for this recognition in the name of some of the great people who in the past have defined Marshfield Clinic,” Obey said, referring specifically to Ben Lawton, M.D., a general and thoracic surgeon at Marshfield Clinic for 33 years until his death in 1987. Dr. Lawton worked tirelessly for causes of scientific investigation, education and social responsibility. The Lawton Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation is named in his honor. “Ben Lawton was the most humane man I have ever met,” said Obey.

In the end, Obey said, what is most important is what our respective institutions allow us to do for other people. “Physicians have unparalleled potential to make a difference in people’s lives. Some of you sometimes literally have the power of life or death in your skilled hands. That is an awesome responsibility and a wondrous gift. People in the congress do not experience that same reality close up or individually, but collectively, by our decisions, we can produce the same results. We have been given the greatest gift that can be bestowed, to help others in their own lives. Let us hope we all make the best of it.”

Read David R. Obey's biography.

Video highlights of Obey's acceptance speech.

Watch the entire award presentation.

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