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Linda Baker, executive secretary for the Department of Military Science and Leadership, and grounds supervisor Chad Peevy were honored May 16 by the Hourly and Classified Employees Association, respectively, as Old Dominion's HACE Staff Member and Rookie Staff Member of the Year.

Baker, a 27-year employee of the university and longtime active member of HACE, was nominated by her supervisor, Lt. Col. Barry R. Hendricks, chair
of the military science department.

"From day one, I have been overwhelmed by the impact she has made and continues to make, not only in our department, but in the Old Dominion
University and Norfolk communities," Hendricks said.
"Linda Baker epitomizes every one of the 'characteristics to consider in the nomination instructions: diligence, initiative, motivation, cooperation, teamwork and assistance to co-workers and other university personnel."

Baker's nomination was supported by more than 50 letters and e-mails from previous leaders of the Army ROTC program, current and former ROTC faculty and students, and university staff.

Hendricks, who called Baker "an energetic action agent for very visible projects," also wrote in his nomination, "The word 'no' is not found in her vocabulary, and all it takes is a phone call or conversation in passing for Linda to offer assistance to any department, staff or faculty member, and
most importantly, students."

Hendricks said Baker is referred to affectionately in the department as "Ms. B" and that the chair next to her desk is known as the "power station." He noted, "Many a cadet (and I must admit, a few staff members, yours truly included) have occupied that seat and talked to Ms. B about grades, relationships, classes or just life in general. She willingly provides a ready ear, dispenses wise advice and generally monitors their ups and downs."

He added, "A key indicator of her impact is the fact that she sustains communications with graduates long after they have left our program (many
of whom have been or are currently deployed overseas) and displays mementos and pictures from them in a bookcase behind her desk, proudly referred to as her 'brag wall.'"

Former department chair Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy called Baker "the mother confessor to hundreds of students who struggled to find balance between
studies, work and ROTC."

Throughout the many letters supporting her nomination, the adjectives compassionate, supportive, friendly, dedicated and knowledgeable were repeated in describing Baker.

One former cadet from the early 1980s, Lt. Cmdr. Mark C. Darden, had this to say: "As a new cadet, it was reassuring to know there was someone to go
to outside of the military cadre to talk to when I had questions I didn't want to take to the cadre. Linda was always there for us as cadets.

"She was the one many of us went to when we were having problems with our classes, roommates, girlfriends, or whatever the issue. Many of us were the typical college student who didn't have two nickels to rub together, and Linda would provide food to some of us when we stopped in the ROTC office.
She was always the one who could brighten your day if things weren't going well.

"Following my completion from the Military Police Office Basic Course, Linda was the first person from the ODU cadre I traveled to see to say thank you for all the help over the previous four years. She had a great impact on my success in the Army, as she was the one who was able to teach me how to put things into perspective.

"Currently, my niece is part of the Monarch Battalion and she, too, receives the same support from Linda. Linda is the cornerstone for the
Monarch Battalion and her impact on many officers is great and currently felt around the world where battalion alumni are currently serving."

As winner of the annual award, Baker received $200 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund, a reserved parking space for next year and a $100 bookstore gift certificate, among other prizes. Also nominated for the award were: Roy Henderson, Carol McIntyre, Donald Nash, Dennis Stephens and Tarsha Turner.

Chad Peevy, who joined the facilities management office in August 2006, was nominated for the HACE Rookie Staff Member of the Year Award by his
supervisor, Dillard George, director of facilities management.

"As the grounds supervisor, he has a challenging position to supervise a staff of over 20 individuals in very demanding and strenuous jobs that need
to be done daily in conditions that are often adverse," George said. "His vision of making the ODU campus the best it can be is apparent not only in
the standard he sets for his staff, but also in his desire to lend his expertise in improving the overall campus environment." A certified arborist and horticulturist, Peevy, in the relatively short

time he has been employed, "has already begun to propose some things for the long-range development of the campus ... in terms of planting trees and developing landscaping that will enhance the campus appearance and provide the ODU community with a more natural stetting in which to learn and work," George noted.

Calling Peevy the "consummate team player," George added: "Shortly after he arrived, a number of the other managers in facilities management commented about how much they enjoyed working with Chad and how effective he was as the new grounds supervisor. This sentiment has continued to be a theme with everyone who comes in contact with Chad."

George further noted that Peevy works with interested grounds staff in helping them develop their skills through in-house and outside training.
Peevy received $100 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund and a $100 bookstore gift certificate, among other gifts, as winner of the HACE Rookie Award.

Also nominated were: Michael Frizzell, Shirley Herline, Tambre McClenny, Brett McMillan, Frenchon Nixon, Robin Paez Keishla Perez, Kathy Pim, Debra Ruberto and Epifaniadelrosa (Tina) Subaba.

This article was posted on: May 16, 2007

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