By Cary Shuman
IAABO Board 130 honored Lynn resident and longtime basketball referee Bob “Moona” Mullins with its James Young Courage Award at the group’s annual Awards Dinner Tuesday at the Danversport Yacht Club.
Paul Halloran, former Board 130 president, chronicled Mullins’s illness, subsequent kidney transplant surgery and rehabilitation, and his courageous return to the basketball court to resume his officiating career.
In his remarks Halloran noted the presence of Mullins’s daughter, Courtney, at the dinner. (Daughter Jennifer Furlong was also a guest). It was Courtney Mullins who donated a kidney to her father for the operation in June, 2012.
“And here we are a few years later and Bob is back on the court,” said Halloran about the former Lynn firefighter. “For me the most meaningful game I ever had was December 18, 2013. It was the first game of the regular season and Bob and I did the game. It was Bob’s first game back after that ordeal. Bob is back and better than ever. We’re happy to have him back and we can agree that he epitomizes this award. No one deserves the Courage Award more than Bob Mullins.”
Mullins received a standing ovation from his fellow officials and guests.
“I will tell you no one enjoys basketball more than myself,” said Mullins. “It means a lot to me to accept this award, especially because of the person it is named for, Jimmy Young, who is a good friend who I have the utmost respect for.”
Mullins thanked Lynn Councillor-at-Large Buzzy Barton for his support and friendship. “Buzzy and I worked together for 30 years on the Lynn Fire Department, but our friendship goes back to our childhood.”
Mullins also paid a heartfelt tribute to his daughters. “I would like to recognize my two daughters, Jennifer and Courtney. I could not begin to tell you what they have done for me, because if I did we would be here all night. But I will sum it up and say that if it was not for them, I probably would not be here tonight to accept this wonderful award. I love you girls and would like to dedicate this award to the both of you. Thank you.”