National Press Club

Lester leads unwieldy Awards Committee, wins Club’s top honor

January 10, 2013 | By Mark Schoeff Jr. | markschoeff@gmail.com

Will Lester won the National Press Club's top volunteer honor, the Berny Krug Award, on Jan. 8. Club President Theresa Werner also presented Vivian Awards to dozens of other members for outstanding contributions.

Will Lester won the National Press Club's top volunteer honor, the Berny Krug Award, on Jan. 8. Club President Theresa Werner also presented Vivian Awards to dozens of other members for outstanding contributions.

Photo/Image: Jack Anderson

Will Lester garnered the National Press Club’s top volunteer award by leading its most unwieldy committee.

On Jan.8, Lester received the Berny Krug Award for his exemplary work as head of the Club’s Journalism Awards Committee in 2012. In that role, he managed 177 entries – an increase from 140 in 2011 – across 13 categories.

In each area, he recruited three judges to select the winners. He also was instrumental in planning and executing the Awards dinner over the summer, one of the Club’s top annual events.

On a committee that consists of “many moving parts,” as Club President Theresa Werner noted, Lester kept up with the demands, maintained his courtly demeanor and rolled out innovations.

“He is one of the most easy going and patient men I know,” Werner said at the Club’s Vivian Awards ceremony on Jan. 8. “He is thorough and conscientious and has an eye for detail. He also continues to make the [Club Journalism] Awards relevant by introducing new categories.”

Last year, the Club inaugurated a Breaking News Award. This year, it will begin to bestow a news photography prize.

“When he brings these new ideas to the board, they are thoroughly researched and a plan on how to do it has already been laid out,” Werner said.

An Associated Press Desk editor, Lester joined the Club 10 years ago. He has served as Awards chairman for two years and has signed up for another tour in 2013.

“This is for all the judges who do the real work,” Lester said in accepting the Krug Award.

In addition to Lester, dozens of Club members received Vivian Awards on Jan. 8 for outstanding service to the Club in 2012. The recognition is named after Vivian Vahlberg, the Club’s first woman president in 1982.

“You, our volunteers, are what make this Club so great,” Werner said.

The 2012 Vivian Award winners are Lisa Friedman, Mike Soraghan, Pat Schoeni, Norma Reck, Jack Williams, Ken Mellgren, Tom McMahon, Thomas Sanchez, Daniel Selnick, Anthony Shop, Megan Cotten, Jen DePaul, John Donnelly, Delphine Halgand, Viola Gienger, Gil Klein, Amy Henderson, Larry Quinn, Eddie Walsh, Jan DuPlain, Ron Baygents, Patti Giglio, Jamie Horowitz, Darlene Shields, Al Teich, Noel St. John, Donna Leinwand Leger, Bob Webb, Bill Miller, Lorna Aldrich, Mark Schoeff Jr., Alison Fitzgerald, Marilyn Geewax, Deb Silimeo, Paul Shinkman, Jen Judson, Ben Dooley, Tim Homan and James Noone.