Rev. Robert Campbell is a minister and community activist who has been living in the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood in Orange County for over 70 years. He was recently named the 2019 Citizen of the Year by the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro.
He has focused on social justice and, more recently, environmental protection issues throughout his career. His long history of activism has made him heavily involved in the proceedings revolving the Greene Tract resolutions.
“I would say it is encouraging. It is a motivator,” Campbell said about serving his community. “You seek change, so you have to stand up and be a part of that change.”
His ties to the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro area run deep, having grown up in the Northside neighborhood and attended Chapel Hill High School.
However, he said the word “service” quickly took on new meaning to him, as he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1969. He was in the armed forces for four years, serving three tours in and around Vietnam.
Campbell said his military service engrained many values that have helped him become a faithful community servant.
Campbell stressed the importance of being aware of your surroundings and being able to fulfill roles that you may not be prepared for. This would be essential in helping his colleagues carry on in the event that one member of the team could not fully contribute.
“In order to do my job, I have to learn how to do my job, but learn other people’s jobs as well,” he said. “Because if one goes down, that doesn’t mean the ship goes down.”
He also said that the military taught him many valuable lessons about discipline and self-direction.