Museum Security Network

David Liston 2009 recipient of Robert Burke Award

Dear friends and colleagues,
I just returned from visiting David at the hospital, and have attached a picture of JJ McLaughlin (Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Protection Services) presenting him with the 2009 Robert Burke Award. As stated in an earlier email, this was something that David had always hoped for and now he has. JJ told him that this was a unanimous decision by the Conference Board, and that he was very happy to present this to him.


Dave’s manner is still one of peace and calm. He had major surgery last Friday, 16 January, to remove the very large and insidious tumor in his abdomen. Unfortunately the doctors were not able to remove the entire tumor for fear of putting his life in danger. He is not a candidate for chemo or radiation therapy and a second operation is not planned at this time. The doctors have told him he has perhaps 3 months to live and he plans to spend much of the time he has left with his family. His immediate goal (written on his hospital white board this week) is to “go home.”

Between the surgery and the fluids they have drained off, David has lost 100 lbs (45.4 kilos) and said he now weighs 170 lbs (77 kilos). Since entering the hospital on Christmas day, he has not been permitted anything to eat or drink, being only tube fed. His dream for the past three weeks is to have a banana flavored ice cream cone, and he is hoping to be returned to a normal diet and go home within the next week or so.

He said he is really happy to receive the emails & cards from friends & hopes they will continue when he goes home. In case you misplaced it, his email address is and his website is

Best regards,

Andy Wilson
Associate Director for Fire Protection and Safety
Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012, Washington DC 20013
Phone 202.633.2678
Mobile 202.345.6554

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