The award is dedicated in memory of Colonel Robert Yablonski, an Olmsted Scholar whose study in Lyon, France from 1980 to 1982 began his lifelong support from the Olmsted Foundation. He returned twice to serve as a member of the Olmsted Foundation Board of Directors (1997-1998; 2001-2008), and as the Executive Vice President of the Foundation (2002-2008). A year after stepping down as Executive Vice President and from the Board of Directors, Colonel Yablonski lost his long, courageous battle with leukemia. According the Olmsted Foundation website, "Today, Colonel Yablonski's infectious enthusiasm, sense of humor, and passionate support of the Olmsted Foundation lives on through the Robert Yablonski Esprit Award."
Commander Bradford studied as an Olmsted Scholar from 2002-2004 in Indonesia and then Singapore. Among the accomplishments noted in the award certificate was his service as the founding President of YCAPS. YCAPS and the Olmsted Foundation share many common causes such as fostering professional development through cultural immersion and international academic study.
Col Robert Yablonski's widow, Barbara Yablonshi (far left), and son, Chris Yablonski (far right), present CDR John Bradford and his wife, Dr. Annette Bradford, with the 2017 Spirit of Yoblonski Award.