Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteer Robert Lehman
May 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2015 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer Robert “Robbie” Lehman. Robbie, 23, passed away in a traffic accident near the city of Mbeya in southwestern Tanzania.
“Robbie dedicated his life to serving others,” Hessler-Radelet said. “He cared deeply for those around him, whether they lived across the street or around the world. He knew no boundaries and was willing to take on anything. The entire Peace Corps family is devastated by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Lehman family.”
A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Robbie served as a community health volunteer in Tanzania. He prepared for his service by working with those living with HIV/AIDS in his community and learning Swahili on his own.
Robbie lived a life of service. He traveled with his church youth group to underserved communities around the United States, helping at local food pantries, day care centers and thrift shops. In his home state of Minnesota, Robbie taught elementary school students about environmental protection, volunteered with patients in the emergency room, and was part of a mentorship program for local youth.
Prior to his Peace Corps service, Robbie wrote that the “golden rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself” was the “simplest yet most powerful advice I’ve ever received,” saying “it leads to a selfless life.” He wrote that “at an early age I understood the importance of giving from my parents” and that “the act of helping others is contagious.”
Robbie also wrote that he aspired to be a “global citizen,” saying that it “broadens your neighborhood as well as the amount of neighbors you have.” He wrote that many people “don’t receive the attention needed because their struggle isn’t close to home. By broadening your horizons you’re able to reach out and touch more people’s lives.”
Robbie was a lover of nature and the outdoors. He spent summers at his family cabin in northern Wisconsin fishing, hiking, waterskiing and on his uncle’s farm. Robbie also worked for the American Conservation Corp in the Rocky Mountain National Park and made several memorable trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. He was passionate about running, photography, music, dancing and drawing. He earned a Bachelor of Science and a merit scholarship at St. Olaf College.
He is survived by his parents, Gregory T. Lehman and Dawn L. Martin, sisters Sarah Lehman and Laura Lehman, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends.