2020 Rita Harmon Volunteer Service Award, Robert Taylor
Each year at our Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition in January, United Way presents the Rita Harmon Volunteer Service Award to an outstanding volunteer who has demonstrated a lifetime of community service. Circumstances last January led to holding a very brief, live-streamed program, and it just didn’t feel right to present a lifetime achievement award that way. So, we opted to hold off on the presentation until yesterday's Campaign Celebration luncheon.
About the Rita Harmon Award
Rita Harmon served as the Lubbock Area United Way Board Chair in 1992 and 1993. Her untimely death took a great leader from United Way and the rest of the community. Each year, the United Way Board Chair appoints a committee to carefully select a deserving recipient. The criteria are as follows:
- A commitment of service to others
- Determination and persistence in fulfilling volunteer obligations
- Loyalty and integrity
- Actively involved in community activities in addition to United Way
- Dedication to helping people in Lubbock
This prestigious award has been presented each year since 1993.
It is our great pleasure and honor to recognize Robert Taylor as our 2020 award recipient.
About Robert Taylor
Robert grew up in Lubbock and graduated from Texas Tech University. He joined his father’s wholesale business, R.C Taylor Wholesale, but shortly thereafter, Robert began operating the growing company when his father became seriously ill. R.C. Taylor Wholesale flourished under Robert’s leadership. In 2007, he sold the business to one of his largest customers, United Supermarkets, and joined United’s leadership team as Vice President of Logistics. In 2010, he was named President and CEO. United Supermarkets is well-known on the South Plains and in every market they operate for their commitment to service and community.
Robert himself has been an active volunteer and advocate. He has filled several leadership roles within Lubbock Area United Way and is a past president of one of United Way’s Community Partner, the Salvation Army. He is a past president of Southwest Rotary and is often a guest lecturer for business classes. Having a passion for growing young entrepreneurs, Robert chaired the Lemonade Day board for many years. Several United Way Community Partners including the YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts participate in the program.
In 2020, Robert co-chaired the Lubbock Economic Recovery Task Force helping our local business community navigate the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Robert and United Supermarkets also assisted United Way and the Community Foundation of West Texas in raising $1.6 million for the South Plains COVID-19 Response Fund. Undaunted by a global pandemic, Robert and his team chose to pivot United’s annual Jacky Pierce Charity Classic and held the first-ever “golfless” tournament. They successfully raised $500,000 to share between 28 local United Ways.
An avid Texas Tech fan, Robert and his family are scholarship donors in athletics, the graduate school, and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. He has served in a number of volunteer roles for the University.
In addition to this award, Robert has received several distinctions that all demonstrate just the type of person he is and his commitment to West Texas.
The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce recognized Robert as its Business Person of the Year in 2013 and its Champion for Business in 2020.
In 2021, Robert was named to the Food Industry Hall of Fame, and he was most recently recognized by the Lubbock Association of Fundraising Professionals at its 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for his work with the Tornado Memorial Gateway Project.
Robert’s wife Jan is also a Texas Tech University graduate. The Taylors have four children and nine grandchildren.