By Gary Mitchell
When the National Republican Congressional Committee notified Homer Tankersley he would be the recipient of a special award, the Clovis businessman was taken aback.
“I don’t have any idea how they selected me,” he said. “It was a total surprise. I had no idea what was going on.”
Tankersley, 76, received notice of his official invitation to a special awards ceremony in the nation’s capitol after having just returned from hip replacement surgery in Tucson, Ariz., last month.
In a formal press release, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., announced Tankersley had been named to the 2003 Republican Chairman’s Honor Roll.
“Mr. Tankersley serves as a co-chairman of the committee’s Business Advisory Council and is being recognized for service and support in keeping the White House and Congress in Republican control,” Reynolds said in his announcement. “As a member of the Honor Roll, Mr. Tankersley’s name will be on display at the Republican headquarters building in Washington, D.C. And as a member of the Honor Roll, Mr. Tankersley qualifies to receive the committee’s highest honor, the prestigious Republican Gold Medal, to be presented at a special awards ceremony in the nation’s capitol.”
Tankersley’s wife, Doris, said she was pleased with the honor for her husband, who also is minister of music at First Baptist Church in Clovis.
“I’m proud of Homer for everything he does,” she said. “This is a significant political honor, but I’m more proud of what he does for the Lord. What impresses me about my husband is his devotion to the Lord.”
In the latest letter he received this week from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Tankersley said the awards ceremony will take place Oct. 7-8 in Washington, D.C., at the Capitol Hill Club.
During the ceremony, the program will feature panel discussions with members of Congress. Special guest speaker at the ceremony will be Vice President Dick Cheney.
Gold Medal recipients also will receive a tour of the nation’s capitol and surrounding historic sites, the letter stated.
“Doris and I do plan to go to Washington for the special ceremony,” Tankersley said. “I’ve been to the White House before, but not in any official capacity.”
Tankersley said he was a bit suspicious of all the hoopla surrounding the award and the ceremony.
“I’m thinking when I get up there, they’ll have a job for me to do,” he quipped. “But if I take the honor at face value, I appreciate the recognition. I think it would make a nice trip for us. We’ll enjoy it.”
Dennis Roch, former chairman and now second vice-chairman of the Curry County Republican Party, said Tankersley’s award is a high honor for a local businessman.
“The NRCC puts together advisory groups around the country to make sure the Republican national campaigns are lined up with the needs and concerns of the people at the grassroots level in the congressional districts,” he said. “Homer is in a unique position to advise the majority party in Congress about business issues throughout the country. The addition of his name to the Honor Roll highlights his value in service to the party — and local Republicans should be proud to have him represent us.”