Hennig Award Recipient - Patricia Walker - 2010

Pat Walker Given the Bernard A. Hennig Award for Excellence and Improvements in Philatelic Judging

Over the last 4 years I have had the honor as President of presenting the Hennig Award to four of THE outstanding judges in the United States; it was my great pleasure to award most recently the Bernard A. Hennig award to Patricia Stilwell Walker. Since its inception at the APS Stampshow Board meeting in Portland where Eliot Landau (who I would like to acknowledge for his wonderful background research for each awardee) initially proposed and funded this award, it has gone to its namesake, Bud Hennig, John Hotchner and the late Charlie Peterson.

Most of you know Pat and many may know the story of her entry into the philatelic world. Pat, unlike many in the arena of exhibiting, became a collector in order to exhibit; quite the opposite from most of us. In a thumb nail sketch, first purchase in 1976 of Irish stampless mail, first exhibit at a local show winning a Grand and at her second national show she met her future husband, Dan. The final achievement in a log line of national gold medals and Grand awards was to win the FIP Grand Prix National at London 2000. These accomplishments alone put her into the rarified atmosphere that most of us will never have occasion to breath. However, this is not the reason for honoring her with this award. While establishing her exhibiting bona fides she early on took up judging and became an accredited APS judge in 1985. It is what she has done in this 25-year period that she has truly excelled within the confines of the criteria of this award.

While becoming an accredited jury chair in both literature and philatelic judging, she also became an accredited international FIP judge. Her skills in judging are far above the “norm” and while that is the station we judges should all aspire to, she has risen to the top percentile of her craft. Again this is not necessarily enough to be considered for this, the most prestigious award that a judge can earn. What she has done is become a go-to person for presenting exhibiting seminars, being in the forefront of the new divisions and classes by openly promoting them and in the vanguard of outreach to youth exhibitors and instrumental in the creation and development of Women Exhibitors. She has been on the Committee for Accreditation of National Exhibitions and Judges (CANEJ) and most importantly on the Board of AAPE as its Treasurer for some 10 years. Her devotion to the hobby and in particular to the advancement of exhibiting is what Pat is all about in organized philately.

There are many ways of presenting ideas and suggestions. Many are from behind a desk with a ruler in one hand and an apple in the other. Some are given behind a pulpit. But the best is one that is done as an equal with an understanding of the person being mentored. Pat has that ability to critique, recommend and advise that is as easy to take as a smooth single malt whiskey. On a personal note, when I was apprenticing for my first time at SANDICAL in 1998, I was assigned to work with Pat as the team leader. Not knowing what I was in for, I was intimidated and uncertain as to what the hell I had gotten myself into. Pat was understanding and helpful in a way that has stuck with me all these years. I know that my experience in that first show and all of the other interactions I have had over the years have made me a much better judge than I would have been. The ability to see the forest for the trees, so to speak, is an invaluable lesson when judging. Equally important is the ability to analyze an exhibit and perceive corrective measures that are effective in improving it. This is what great judges can do efficiently and effortlessly as she can.

While I have known all for many years, it was with particular pride and honor to present this award to Pat, a most deserving recipient.