The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


W. Allan and Dorris Goodbary
Retired Executives, United States Department of State

W. Allan and Dorris Goodbary

As a husband and wife team, W. Allan and Dorris Goodbary devoted their professional career to government service throughout some of the most underdeveloped countries of the world. Their commitment to improving the self-sufficiency and quality of life in these countries through education and training has left an indelible mark on generations of people in Turkey, South Korea, Thailand, Honduras, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Botswana.

Mr. And Mrs. Goodbary, both Oklahoma natives, received B.S. degrees in 1941 from Oklahoma A&M College in Dairy Science and Home Economics, respectively. Growing up in Mangum, Oklahoma, Mrs. Goodbary had been very active in 4-H programs, elected State 4-H Club Secretary in 1937. From Carney, Oklahoma, Mr. Goodbary had also involved himself with 4-H, having been elected State 4-H Club President in 1935. Following their college graduation the couple married, bringing together their shared appreciation for humanitarian concerns and initiating a lifetime partnership of public service.

In 1952, under the Marshall Plan and the Point "Four Program" of the U.S State Department, they were one of five couples hand-selected to initiate the agricultural portion of the Point Four Program in Turkey, as coordinated by Dr. Henry G. Bennett. Embarking upon this venture with six young children ranging in age from 3 months to 10 years presented a tremendous challenge, which further demonstrated their courage and determination. During this assignment, Mr. Goodbary was instrumental in teaching Turkish people about modern feeding, vaccination, and other aspects of livestock care, and was an integral part of a major increase in the country's agricultural production. Mrs. Goodbary organized teambuilding efforts to encourage camaraderie among the Turkish/American families. She initiated a children's softball team, led a scout troop, and taught countless numbers of Turkish women how to grow gardens and preserve produce.

The Goodbary's accepted other similar foreign assignments, choosing to continue serving in the more underdeveloped countries rather than in the more desirable Western Europe areas. Mr. Goodbary's efforts included representing the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) in developing and justifying numerous programs for AID funding. In Cyprus, during an irrigation excavation trip, Mrs. Goodbary noticed a caved-in area, which led to the discovery of an ancient burial site from the Mycenaean Era (approximately 1500 BC). She participated in the archeological exploration of the site and did volunteer work with the Ministry of Antiquities to restore the ancient pottery found.

After thirty-one years of U.S. Government service, Mr. Goodbary retired in 1972 having attained the second highest rank in the Foreign Service. Both Mr. and Mrs. Goodbary continued to serve in various volunteer positions, including state politics, 4-H, County Election Boards, the Oklahoma Nursing Home Board, the Governor's Comission on the Status of Women, and the Oklahoma Arts Council. In 1994, both were given the lifetime Oklahoma 4-H Alumni Recognition Award.

Year of Award: 2000