The gift that keeps on giving


Editor, The Commercial:

Some 40-odd years ago, my wife and I went to a movie at Saenger Theatre. During the intermission I went to the snack bar for some refreshments. While I was there, I was approached by a man named Bob Abbott, a railroad telegrapher from Bearden. He called me aside and congratulated me on getting elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. Mr. Abbott told me of the fight his father was having with renal failure. Bob then asked me if I knew a way to help Arkansans who were going through kidney problems.

When I went back to the capitol the following week, I was able to make an appointment with Gov. Dale Bumpers to discuss the need for establishing a program for aid, assistance and treatment for these patients.

Before long, an Arkansas Kidney Commission would be formed officially. Gov. Bumpers chose Mr. Abbott to serve on his first commission to get the program operating. In time he would manage to contact Congressman Wilbur Mills about finding congressional funding for this project.

In 2010, Bob asked me to call congressional staffers across Washington, D.C. to build support for a national effort to enable kidney patients and their caregivers around the country to receive an award for their commitment to this cause. Finally in 2011, the first “Chain of Life” awards were presented by Gov. Mike Beebe.

Bob Abbott is indeed the gift that just keeps on giving to worthy causes that are meant to be uplift our city of Pine Bluff, and in a number of ways, our state.

I am honored to be able to call the philanthropic genius my friend. It is my wish that he continues to prosper in all of his endeavors.

Frank Henslee

Pine Bluff