David Robinson was attending Washburn University when he met co-ed Alice McCune from Chanute.
“I was on the track team and it took that speed to catch her,” Dave said.
After graduating from Washburn, they stayed in Topeka five years then moved to McPherson where Dave was an insurance underwriter. When Alice lost her mother to cancer, they came to Chanute in 1967 to join her father in his insurance company.
“He started that agency in 1932,” Dave said.
Alice noted that one of her Dad’s offices was above the JC Penney store at the northeast corner of Main and Lincoln.
“We would watch the parades from the window up there,” she said.
When the Robinsons moved to Chanute, they hit the ground running in their involvement with the community.
The list is long.
They got involved with the American Cancer Society and the annual golf tournament.
That evolved into the couple cooking hot dogs and s’mores for the Relay for Life event every year.
They are members of First United Methodist Church and Alice said they were involved in a lot of church activities and responsibilities.
Sporting activities included the Robinson’s Ragtags co-ed volleyball team and church softball.
Board commitments included serving as a trustee for Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, and the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street and CRDA boards.
“We were on the library board at the time when we did the daisy chain,” Dave said, remembering when books were moved book-by-book, person-to-person from the former site to the new location in the depot.
“We had a string of people from the library to the library on Lincoln,” Alice recalled. “Gosh, yes. That was fun.”
They noted that librarian Susan Willis had it organized to put the books on the shelves in the right places.
A pet project of the Robinsons was Kids Voting, where they worked with the schools and the Secretary of State so students could participate in a mock voting process.
They have also helped with the Christmas Lights on Main project, starting with checking lights in July.
“Martha and Jim Cornish are the heart of the whole thing,” Dave said.
And Dave is heavily involved with Rotary. The club has provided hamburgers and hot dogs at noon on the final day of the Ralph Miller Classic. Last Saturday 300 sandwiches were grilled.
“It was cold,” Dave said. “It was hard to get that grill hot enough.”
Dave also serves as a team host at the Ralph Miller Classic.
Prior to this year, he assisted Shawnee Heights from Topeka for six or seven years.
The hosts greet the team, give t-shirts to the players and jackets to coaches, and provide goodie bags.
This year Robinson was assigned to a new team in the tourney, Leavenworth.
While visiting with first-year coach Prentes Potts, it was discovered the coach played basketball at Southwest Baptist.
That rang a bell for Dave. “Did you happen to have a coach by the name of Jeff?” he asked. Prentis said, “Jeff Guiot.” Dave replied, “Jeff grew up in Chanute.”
Dave noted that the teams wore their warmups to Chanute Elementary and read to the students.
“My team read to kindergarten students,” Dave said. “It was the first time they had ever done that.”
The couple has been involved over the years as boosters for both the high school and community college.
“We arranged one time to send a team to state in a Goodwill Tours bus.” Dave said. “I remember Marvin Johnson, superintendent at the time, saying, ‘You want to do what?’”
The organizers were disappointed because they were planning to spend the night at state, but the team lost the first game and headed home.
The Robinsons have appreciated giving back to the community over the years.
“We loved it,” Alice said. “We still do. I feel like people who aren’t doing things are missing out.”
“Through the years we’ve seen many ups and downs, but there’s been a very positive attitude in Chanute,” Dave said.
“There are amazing facilities in medical care and schools. There’s a lot to offer and the future is great.”