The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) said goodbye last month to a remarkable obesity advocate and one of our beloved Board Members, Rob Portinga. Rob will be remembered for a number of reasons because of the incredible person he was, but his passion for the cause of obesity leaves behind a legacy that will forever impact this organization.
Rob was celebrated in our community for his positivity and dedication, and he was one of the most powerful connectors of people to the OAC. He also served on numerous OAC committees over the years and was a pioneer in the obesity community by representing a “dude’s perspective,” as he would often say. Rob loved hiking and cooking, and was known for the photos he captured on his many travels and adventures with his sidekick Spider Man figurine.
In 2014, Rob was the recipient of the Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy and the very next year, he received the OAC Member of the Year Award. Rob was loved and celebrated for his kindness, his balanced perspective on life, and his tireless advocacy work. He fought against weight stigma, inspired others, and sought a better world for people affected by obesity.
One of Rob’s lasting legacies with the OAC will be his work on our Long-Range Planning Committee, where he spearheaded the effort to create a new Regional Network System. He had a vision to bring the OAC to more people on the ground level and create chapters to connect them in person while advancing the OAC’s mission. Those Regional Networks are expected to begin beta testing later this year.
The OAC will miss Rob greatly, but his legacy for constructive, thoughtful conversation and connectivity with each other will continue to live on.
To Rob: thank you for everything you have done. Not just for the OAC, but for the greater cause and for all people who have been impacted by obesity. Thank you for all the years of service you gave to this organization and the leadership roles you embraced. You will be remembered for your loving nature, your dedication, your fighting spirit, and so much more.
Your friends at the OAC