Otto the Clown Receives Highest Honor for “Clowning Around”
Bob Dillon was honored for his years of providing entertainment to the children of St. Mary’s
Otto at the 2008 Walk For St. Mary’s KidsBayside, NY June 19, 2008 – Otto the Clown brings laughter and joy to the children of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for children. On June 17, 2008, Mr. Dillon was honored with the coveted Supreme Chancellor’s Medal by the North Shore Lodge of the Knights of Pythias at Marathon Jewish Center in Queens, for his selfless acts of providing entertainment to the kids of St. Mary’s for over 15 years.
“This is the highest recognition given to someone who has shown dedication and stands as an exemplary figure in the community limelight,” said Ronald Degen, board member of Knights of Pythias. Mr. Degen noted the medal represents the fraternal order’s theme of “friendship, charity and benevolence,” and is only given about 2-3 times a year and not just to anyone. “This man works 600 hours a year at St. Mary’s and only gets paid in smiles and he really goes out of his way to please the kids,” he remarked.
“The children adore him and he really earned this prestigious award. The event was absolutely beautiful,” said Jan Mittan, VP of Development and Communications who attended the event and relayed stories of the remarkable energy Otto the Clown brings to the children.
Sidney Weber was amongst the speakers and remembered how Mr. Dillon brightened the life of his nephew Zachary, who fought a five-year battle with cancer before his life ended. “Otto the Clown brought such happiness to Zach and his family during those years of hardship, he made it bearable,” said Mr. Weber.
Senator Frank Padavan, Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall, and Councilman David Weprin all presented proclamations in Mr. Dillon’s honor.
But, the best part of the evening was the man of the hour. Mr. Dillon spoke to the audience about the deep compassion he carries for the children and how they have given him something to look forward to every day. Speaking from his heart, Mr. Dillon went on to tell a story about a patient who passed away. He keeps a picture of this little boy and every night before he goes to sleep, he looks at his innocent face and is happy to have had the opportunity to spend precious moments with him. “There’s no better place that I could spend my day,” he said.
When Mr. Dillon is not clowning around, he volunteers his services in the Foundation office.
Knights of Pythias was founded in 1864 with over 2,000 lodges throughout the United States and Canada, and was established to help people in the community who lend their services for a good cause, like Mr. Dillon. The North Shore lodge is comprised of over 250 members.