Rawlings praised for tireless work ethic

In 1988, Dick Rawlings started making money for people in New Hampshire as an executive in the financial services industry.

Nowadays, the Bedford resident spends a lot of his energy asking people for money.

Rawlings sits on the boards of several high-profile non-profit organizations: Boys and Girls Club, Bedford Community Television, the Mary and John Elliot Charitable Foundation, and Easterseals, the board where he has spent the most time and held many titles, including chairman.

Inevitably, the job involves asking people for money.

“Not everybody says yes; unless you ask, you never know what the results will be,” said Rawlings, one of four who will receive the Granite State Legacy Award next month.

The award honors accomplishments of New Hampshire citizens from all walks of life who have given much to their state over a period of years.

“He has so much energy and is a tireless worker. He gives 150 percent,” said Karen Van Der Beken, senior advancement officer for Easterseals. She said Rawlings is quick to volunteer for board assignments such as golf tournaments and capital campaigns.

And he was a key to launching Veterans Count, an Easterseals effort to provide support and services to veterans, she said.

Rawlings started work with Northwestern Mutual Life in 1970, after spending five years in the Army, two of those in Vietnam. In 1982, he was transferred to Maine, and in 1988 he took over the company’s northern New England operations, which were based in the Manchester area.

Within a year, Rawlings met with Easterseals chief executive Larry Gammon and was invited onto the board.

Rawlings said board work is important. It allows newcomers to meet people and develop friendships. More importantly, it helps make your community a better place to live, he said.

Easterseals holds special meaning to Rawlings and his wife, he said. In 1970s, their only son died from a respiratory infection at 9 months of age when a hospital oxygen tent did not work properly, he said.

Had the boy lived, a doctor told the Rawlings, he would have suffered brain damage and had special needs.

“There’s not a month that goes by at Easterseals that we’re encountering a family with a special needs child. To a certain extent, that would have been my wife and I,” he said.

Rawlings, who is 74, retired as a Northwestern managing partner in 2004.

The Granite State Legacy Awards, presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader and sponsored by Eastern Bank, will be held June 7 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester.

For information on tickets to the event, visit unionleader.com/legacy.

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