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Linda Hammons inducted into Lodi Community Hall of Fame for her service

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Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:00 am

When Linda Hammons was growing up, her parents taught her the importance of serving others. Thanks to her parents’ guidance and the sense of satisfaction she gains from community service, Hammons has been volunteering in Lodi and beyond for decades.

For her contributions to community service, Hammons was inducted into the Lodi Community Hall of Fame.

Lusandra Vincent, a friend who nominated Hammons, said community service has always been a natural fit for Hammons.

“Her whole life has been about serving others in a very quiet, humble way,” Vincent said.

Hammons began her Lodi volunteer work 36 years ago, when she joined the American Association of University Women. Initially, she joined as a way to have contact with other adults. She began to appreciate the community service the organization conducts, as well as the importance it puts on furthering education and equality for women and girls.

Hammons is a past president of the AAUW, and has served as chairwoman of the scholarship program, where she helped provide scholarships to young women.

For several years, Hammons has also been a volunteer for the Lodi Women’s Center, where she serves as a peer counselor, writes temporary restraining order applications for clients and works with Spanish-speaking clients. Serving at the Women’s Center is satisfying, she says, because her female friends and their support have been valuable to her.

“It’s nice to be supportive of others who might be in difficult situations,” she said.

Hammons has served on the board of the Lodi Breakthrough Project, where she has helped provide support to victims of hate crimes.

In the past, she spent several years helping at the Sandhill Crane Festival, where she has also served as a weekend volunteer, doing everything from washing dishes to signing people up for tours. She also organized a tour for a group of third-graders to view the cranes.

Vincent says Hammons’ biggest offering to Lodi is providing hope and compassion for people.

“She offers them a real way of improving their lives without saying, ‘This is what you need to do.’ She sees where there is a need and offers a way to meet the need,” Vincent said.

When Habitat for Humanity had a location in Lodi, Hammons worked on the family selection committee and worked with families who partnered in building their own homes. Sheilheh Elliott, who worked with Hammons in the bilingual program at Lakewood Elementary, said Hammons was instrumental in nominating one of the families to the Habitat program.

“She does things on the side (that) people don’t know she’s doing,” she said.

While working with Habitat, Hammons also served as a family liaison when families needed support. She enjoyed seeing families that were able to have a home that was theirs.

“They put their sweat equity in it to have that hope. The fact that they were able to plant a tree in their yard was satisfying to them,” she said.

Hammons graduated from Claremont High School in 1965 and then received a Bachelor of Arts in literature with an emphasis on Spanish from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1969. She then received her California Teaching Credential from UCLA in 1970.

Hammons was employed by the Urban Teaching Corps in East Los Angeles, where she worked with children living in poverty from 1969 to 1971. She then served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone from 1971 to 1973. She also volunteered with Global Volunteers for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

From 1989 to 2009, Hammons was employed by the Lodi Unified School District. She continues to serve as a classroom volunteer at Lakewood Elementary School.

She lives in Lodi with her husband of 42 years, Joe. They have a son, a daughter and twin grandsons.

Other inductees this year include Thomas Sanchez, director of business development for Waste Management, for his contributions to business; Richard Ling, an active volunteer, for his contributions to community service; Jeanie Biskup, who was the driving force behind the success of the Lodi Police Department’s Partners program, for her contributions to government; and Don Womble, who served as a cross country and track coach, for his contributions to education.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Lodi Boys and Girls Club. Inductees will be honored at a dinner and program scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Boys and Girls Club headquarters, 275 Poplar St. near the corner of Stockton Street. Tickets are $50 each. For more information or to make a reservation, call Eddie Cotton at 209-334-2697.

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