By Samantha O’Conner

soconner@bakercityherald.com

A tribute to the late Lew Robbins, a longtime Baker High School teacher and FFA adviser, was revealed at the Old West Federal Credit Union Monday morning.

An artistic branding iron, flanked by a plaque honoring Robbins, sits in front of the business at 2036 Broadway St.

Students in the ag mechanics class at BHS, a program that Robbins started, made the branding iron.

Lew died on Feb. 20, 2015.

Lew’s son, Denzil Robbins, said his father began his teaching career in 1954 at Heppner, before moving to Baker City in 1961.

Lew Robbins taught at BHS until his retirement in 1986.

Members of the Robbins family were joined at Monday’s ceremony by students from the BHS ag mechanics class and the FFA program. Some of Lew’s favorite songs were played.

“I think this is pretty amazing that he’s been retired since ’86 and that they still, some of the students and people around Baker that knew him, wanted this to be dedicated to him,” Denzil Robbins said. “So, that says something for his legacy.”

Bob Kavanaugh of Old West Credit Union said Jennifer Slater, manager at the Baker City branch, came up with the idea to have something “represent Baker City, represent the community, represent the ag community more specifically.”

“It really is to honor Lew, his family, the legacy he’s left with generations,” Kavanaugh said.

The idea began with the remodel being done in front of Old West.

Slater said she wanted to “dedicate it, memorialize it, to so meone who really influenced the Ag Mechanics and FFA.”

“I talked to numerous people and a common denominator was Lew Robbins, and that is why it’s dedicated to him,” Slater said.

Baker City Manager Fred Warner Jr. spoke during the dedication Monday.

“I knew Lew, I went to school with Denzil,” Warner said. “He was my ag teacher for three years back when he was quite a little bit younger so he did have a huge impact on all of the ag industry here in Baker County and I can’t think of a greater tribute to this and I’m just excited that you guys did this for Lew.”

Ty Morrison, BHS FFA president and Eastern Oregon district president, thanked everyone who donated money and support for the project.

Beside the branding iron is a plaque giving thanks and recognition to the Ag Mechanics Team — Gus Slater, Brogan Lewis, and Zack and Ty Morrison, Coaches Alec Slater and Jarrod Maxwell, Baker Sanitary, Behlen Manufacturing, D&B Supply, Natural Structures, and Family Tradition Taxidermy.

Kavanaugh said another plaque that tells more about Lew Robbins’ legacy will be added to the display.

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