2018 Elizabeth M. Forsyth Community Service Award Winner

The Elizabeth M. Forsyth Community Service Award was created in 2004 to acknowledge the impact of individuals who have made significant contributions to the community by recognizing local needs and supporting solutions to meet them.


We were thrilled to honor Bobby Harris as the 2018 Award recipient in May at our annual Luncheon.

Bobby grew up down the street from the Church of the Covenant where Miriam's House co-founder, Bev Cosby, pastored for over 40 years. Reverend Cosby served as an early mentor and role model to Bobby and, through his actions, Bobby was encouraged and inspired to serve his community. As a young man, Bobby served three years in the military before returning to Lynchburg to settle down. Bobby met and married Ann Sackett; together, they have four children and eleven grandchildren. In the late 1970's, Bobby purchased a small manufacturing business, Old Dominion Wood Products, which he grew to become a nationally recognized manufacturer of commercial and hospitality furniture. Bobby remained close to Bev, who often called on him to provide furniture, financial support, guidance and manpower as local community service organizations like New Lands Jobs, Gateway and Miriam's House were launched. Bobby was always willing to lend a hand. Today, through his own business, Bobby is able to provide employment opportunities for ex-offenders, giving them a second chance and renewed hope. Bobby shared that these opportunities, as well as his support of Miriam's House, serve as a means for honoring the incredible legacy of Bev Cosby—providing stability, safety and growth opportunities for the homeless men, women and children of this community.

Leah Wiebe