Dr. Grady Stumbo, who plans to be back at his work as a mountain doctor at 8 a.m. tomorrow, allowed that $10,000 was a lot of money, but added that that really wasn't the most important thing about his Rockefeller Public Service award last night.
"You're out there working for six years, and you sometimes wonder whether it makes any difference, whether anyone cares. It gets lonely after a while," said the 33-year-old doctor. "Now I'm ready for six years more."
Dr. Stumbo, who helped found a low-cost rural health clinic to serve 35,000 patients in one of the nation's poorest counties, was one of seven men and women who received Rockefeller awards last night at a dinner at the Mayflower. Of the seven, only one -- the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson -- has a name that brings instant recognition.
And that reflects one purpose of the public service awards in honoring those who "do the steady work in the trenches" on a day-to-day basis over the years, as West Virginia Gov. Jay Rockefeller emphasized in his presentation speech last night.
The awards were founded in 1952 by his father, the late John D. Rockefeller 3rd, who was killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. At first awarded to distinguished federal employes, they now go to persons of extraordinary achievement whether they work for government, non-profit, volunteer or corporate efforts.
Dr. Stumbo and his partner, who shared the award, Benny Ray Bailey, scratched together grants and loans to found the health clinic at Hindman, Ky. The two coal miners' sons both had gone to tiny Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky., a few miles from where they were born and raised.
Bailey agreed with his partner that the Rockefeller award of $10,000 means more than money.
"I'll tell you what it means to my people, who may feel they don't participate in the American dream," he said. "They'll say, 'That's Benny Ray Bailey. He's one of us. If he got that award, we can do it too.'"
Jackson, a preaching civil rights leader, received his award for his PUSH for Excellence program to motivate black students to advance themselves through education. The $10,000 will go to sustain the PUSH efforts, he told the 300 guests at the dinner.
Other recipients were Margaret C. Snyder, consultant and regional adviser for the United Nations Commission for Africa, who was cited for her work with women in the developing nations; Stanley Sporkin, who has exposed slush funds, overseas bribes and other illegal practices of corporations as director of the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Charles R. Work and William A. Hamilton, who worked out a computer system used by more than 100 prosecutors' offices and court systems.