By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
A Clinton man known for his leadership and dedication to the community was honored on Friday with the Clinton County Bar Association's Liberty Bell award.
The award has been given annually since 1969 in observance of Law Day and recognizes outstanding community service.
Robert Burns is a retired U.S. Air Force member, a former Clinton firefighter, former fire marshal, certified fire investigator, member of the Iowa chapter of the international association of arson investigators, member of the Housing Inspections Appeal Board, member of the Community Emergency Response Team and a court mediator.
Burns has served as a high school and college baseball umpire for 35 years. He also has been a referee for football, basketball and swimming. His dedication to sports landed Burns in the Iowa Baseball Umpire Hall of Fame and the Coaches Baseball Hall of Fame.
Magistrates Mike Judge and Bert Watson praised Burns for his contributions to the community, which Judge said have been in support of developing community responsibility and respect of the law.
"All of his volunteer work embodies the sense of civic responsibility and it does it in a quiet manner. It's not looking for the recognition, not looking for fame. He just helps out wherever he sees a need," Judge said.
"He's a role model for the youth of our community to participate in our community and in our government."
Watson thanked Burns for his days volunteering in the Clinton County Magistrate's office. He applauded Burns for being hardworking and fair.
"We as judges make a lot of decisions and I think Bob made more decisions than we did," Watson said.
Burns was brief in his comments to the approximately 40 people who gathered to watch him accept the award.
"I'm very grateful. Thank you. This will hang on the wall with some of my other stuff I've received from officiating," Burns said.