Dr. Barrie O’Bannon, the man who helped secure the first Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock as well as the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, is the winner of the 2007 Dan West Award.
Throughout his life and as Heifer International’s founder, Dan West maintained a deep commitment to helping the poor, hungry and those in the margin of the world. His vision guides this organization and speaks to the simplest and most basic principle of charity – helping people to help themselves.
In his honor, Heifer Foundation established the Dan West Fellow Award to honor those who have given of themselves to help the less fortunate of the world. Each year, The Foundation’s Trustee Emeriti choose one outstanding leader to be recognized as a Dan West Fellow.
Heifer Foundation President and CEO, Janet K. Ginn, praised O’Bannon’s efforts over the years.
”Barrie is a respected member of the Heifer family and a great ambassador for Heifer Foundation,” Ginn said. “His service and commitment to the organization has proven very valuable over the years as we partner to end hunger and poverty."
O’Bannon, who lives in Russellville, first became involved with Heifer International in the early 1970’s when he read an article that the organization had moved it’s headquarters from St. Louis to Little Rock.
“[The recipients] had to give their first offspring to someone else. That idea really stuck with me, creating an interest in the work,” he said. “It’s outstanding the way people receiving can feel they are also giving to someone else.”
This idea eventually led O’Bannon to provide the lead gift when Heifer International purchased its first headquarters in the old Salvation Army building on Broadway in Little Rock. O’Bannon was also very instrumental in securing the property now known as Heifer Ranch and donated his registered Brangus herd to Heifer International during that time. This donation contributed to many successful projects around the world as quality stock was shipped from the holding facility he helped secure in Perryville.
“I’ve been very happy with what I give – as little as it is,” O’Bannon said. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction in life.”
His example of dedicated service and commitment to making a difference has truly changed a world in great need.
O’Bannon has served many projects and countries with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and through the establishment of an Animal Hospital in 1959. During the course of his professional career he developed and sold three veterinary hospitals, including the Jacksonville Animal Hospital and the Park Hill Pet Clinic. He was elected to the Arkansas Veterinarian Medical Association Honor Roll for his 38 years of service.
Heifer Foundation was honored to have O’Bannon serve on its Board of Trustees, where he was elected Vice-Chair and served on the Board of Heifer International. “I was really thrilled,” he said. “I really felt grateful and was at a loss for words at the time.”
In addition to this honor, a gift of $1,000 will be given to the Dan West Educational Endowment in honor of the recipient.