Have You Met?

It seems like Bob Sweeney leads about 9 lives. Mr. Sweeney agrees that it appears that way at times and humorously quips: “You just get on a fast-horse and go!” There’s no doubt Sweeney’s on a fast track. The multi-faceted, multi-talented Publisher of the Villager Newspaper and President of the Kenneth King Foundation possesses the wisdom of a king, and (to quote a friend) “knows much about many things.”

Mr. Sweeney stays very current and offers us good advice every week in his Publisher’s Opinion: “Kindling” column of the Villager. What kind of editorials is Bob Sweeney drawn to? Stories about people finding and expressing their voice and getting involved with their neighborhoods and communities. Mr. Sweeney says: "It’s unfair – and unacceptable - to print just one side of a story. One of the reasons the Villager was created was to treat issues fairly.”

As President and a Director of the Kenneth King Foundation, he also lives the mission and vision of the Foundation which is to perpetuate and expand the principles that Kenneth King developed in his lifetime of helping those less fortunate than himself. Today at the King Foundation, Bob Sweeney continues to focus on helping those in need by doing “The common thing in an uncommon way.” The Foundation is multi-purpose, with interests in human services, civic, health, educational and religious organizations that are based in Colorado. Sweeney says: “It’s been a real eye opener to see some of the poverty and despair that goes on right here in Denver.”

Sweeney is a third generation native of Craig, Colorado. He started his first paper in his hometown in 1961 with his wife, Gerri. The newspaper grew and expanded, becoming The Craig Daily Press. During his business years in Craig, Sweeney served as president of the Craig Chamber of Commerce; was an officer of the N.W. Colorado Municipal League; and was president of the Craig Lions Club. He also served as mayor of Craig.

Gerri Sweeney was battling cancer at the time (a battle she thankfully won), and the Sweeney’s sold the paper in 1979 to Howard Newspapers and moved to Denver. Within months, they started the Villager Newspaper, which originally covered Cherry Hills and Greenwood Village. The paper is a real “family affair” with the entire Sweeney family participating in the publishing company. (Villager Newspapers, Inc. serves as the umbrella to seven Colorado publications, with three newspapers located in Western Colorado.)

Sweeney became active in the Denver community right from the start. He served as the 2002-2003 president of The Denver Lions Club; received the "Pillars Of The Community Award" from Arapahoe House; was awarded the Community Leadership Award from South Denver Realtors in 2003; served on two school boards and was a Trustee of the University of Northern Colorado.

Bob Sweeney has a sterling reputation among his co-workers. He's widely admired and respected by them; and Glory Weisberg the Society Editor of the Villager was happy to make these glowing remarks about Mr. Sweeney: “Smart, kind, considerate. In my 23 years of working for him whenever his name has been mentioned he is spoken of with kind, smiling gestures and words. He is doing a great job for the King Foundation, a wise president. The fact that the Villager is doing well is the result of Bob's and Gerri's diligent dedication to their trade.”

Minnie Lundberg, the Treasurer and a Director of the Kenneth King Foundation (who is retiring this year after being with the Foundation for 20 years), works with Mr. Sweeney at the King Foundation and says: “I have worked with Bob for 15 years, and in all those years, I have never been around anyone as understanding, patient, caring about others and concerned about continuing the philosophy of our founder Kenneth King. It has been a real pleasure working with Bob Sweeney.”

Bob Sweeney is more than just a delightful guy, he’s a man who’s dependable, clear- minded and concise about the many topics he writes about. Sweeney encourages people to try to better understand the issues and not to take our way of life for granted and to take a role in preserving our rights and liberties.

Bob Sweeney is a forward-thinking man who doesn’t believe in defeat, and he respects different perspectives and points of view. Sweeney believes in being engaged in the political process of our country; and you’ve got to love a Publisher who titled one of his editorials “Never give up – try and try again.” Such encouraging words from one heck of a great guy!

First let’s talk about Bob Sweeney the Villager Newspaper Publisher and author of the Villager Opinion Editorial each week. You are such an eloquent writer. How do you come up with so many interesting and provocative topics week after week? It's hard to do but largely by reading and participation in events, travel, meetings and paying attention to the world as it turns.

Your writing is very direct and honest; does that ever become an issue? No, if you tell the truth or write the truth you can defend what you write easily

What are your thoughts about the 2008 Presidential Election so far? Very interesting and historic. If Democrats unite with the two contenders they will win; if they divide John McCain is apt to win.

What role do you see the Villager playing in the community? An easy way to stay connected to community, friends, and neighbors; and provide education and leadership for the communities served.

What do you personally consider yourself a “voice” for? I believe newspapers should represent the general public and their right to know the truth.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of? Raising my family.

What is the mission (now and in the future) of the Kenneth King Foundation? Assisting disadvantaged, disabled and challenged people.

Can you mention a few of the non-profits the King Foundation supports at this time? Step 13, an alcoholic recovery facility; the MS Center; Liberty Day; Goodwill Industries of Denver & Colorado Springs.

What charitable event do you really look forward to attending each year? Denver Rustlers trip to the Colorado State Fair.

What do you do to “get away from it all”? - Do you have any upcoming vacation plans? Long range, would like to return to Russia; nothing immediate.

What is your advice for staying healthy and happy? I think exercise and being involved.

What do you think is the greatest problem we are facing in this country today? Our nation is fast becoming to into itself and not about helping people; we're becoming too complacent & lazy for our own good. We don't appreciate the great freedoms that we all enjoy.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be? "Born To Be Lucky"…

Is there a book you have read that really inspired you that you can recommend to others? “Animal Farm”

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? C. Glynn Frasier, worked for the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, retired to the Craig/Meeker area. Amazing man!

What do you consider a priceless gift? Common sense.

What word best describes your life right now? Enjoyable and challenging.

What is your fondest childhood memory? Riding my horse.

What is something your parents taught you that you have never forgotten? How to work long hours and be happy about it.

Do you have a quote or saying that has helped guide you through life? “If it is to be, it is up to me!”

What are you focusing most on these days? Do it now and do it right.

What is your greatest strength? Persistence.

What do you still want to learn how to do? Snowboard.

How do you stay so motivated and committed to your causes? Like people and enjoy life.

What should we all be working on these days to make our country better for future generations? Supporting teachers and public education.

How do we get our young people interested in charitable work and giving back to the community? Have them volunteer for a non-profit, like the Boy Scouts - a great group.

What’s in the future for Bob Sweeney? Man plans, God laughs....

How would you like to be remembered by future generations? Really a tough question; I guess to be remembered as a fair-minded person.

An Additional Honor for Bob Sweeney: In 2003, Mr. Sweeney was the President of the “National Newspapers Association” and he says: “It’s a long way from rural Craig, Colorado to the head of the largest Newspapers Association in the World.”