A much-deserved honor for Hammond

The Day joins the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut and the community in congratulating Ulysses B. Hammond as the 2012 recipient of the chamber's William Crawford Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Hammond is most deserving of the award that recognizes outstanding service to the community and important contributions to the quality of life in our region.

Those who gather to honor Mr. Hammond at the Mystic Marriott tonight will represent the rich diversity of our region because Mr. Hammond's service has touched all facets of our community.

Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that "not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service."

By that measure, Ulysses Hammond is truly a great man.

During his 10 years as president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund the endowment has seen impressive growth, this year providing a record nine $20,000 college scholarships to minority students who demonstrated superior academic achievement and community service. In seeking contributions to this fund that is so dear to him, Mr. Hammond is not shy about pointing to the biblical reminder that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Since becoming chairman of the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital board of directors, Mr. Hammond has worked closely with the hospital's administration during a time of momentous change and growth for the nonprofit hospital. In June construction began on a $34.5 million cancer center that L&M is building in Waterford in affiliation with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year also saw L&M complete negotiations to assume ownership and operation of The Westerly Hospital.

Mr. Hammond's other contributions to our state and community include participation on the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission, the Connecticut Hospital Association Board, and the Connecticut Legal Services Board, an organization that provides legal help for the indigent. He is a past board chairman of the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.

In his paying job - yes he finds time for one - as vice president for administration at Connecticut College, Mr. Hammond is leading the college's $85 million, 10-year campus renewal effort that is transforming the century-old campus. At Conn College Mr. Hammond is also responsible for managing business operations and coordinating the college's legal and community affairs.

In an example for all that the work of community service is also carried out in a thousand inconspicuous but nonetheless indispensable ways, Mr. Hammond rolls up his sleeves to wash dishes and serve meals at the New London Meals Center; tutors at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School; and mentors young men to help them find the right path in life.

"Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others," observed Booker T. Washington.

This must be true, because Mr. Hammond is clearly a happy man and our region is most fortunate that he smiles among us.

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