Ulysses Hammond’s favorite way to give back is working at the New London Community Meal Center.
Hammond is generally hidden in the back room, washing dishes, with nobody knowing he is even there. And that’s just the way he likes it.
“It is one of the ways you can give back and absolutely nobody knows you are even there, quite frankly,” Hammond said. “And that is what service is all about.”
Well Monday, Hammond’s good deeds were finally put on display for all to see, when he was awarded the William Crawford Distinguished Service Award by the . The vice president of Connecticut College said he was honored to receive the award, and compared it winning at this summer’s largest sporting event.
“It feels a great deal like the gold (at the Olympics), quite frankly,” Hammond said Monday. “I really identify a great deal with what happens with a winner, when it comes to somehow being recognized for their labor, hard work and dedication. I think, to a large extent, this award symbolizes that as well.”
Hammond works as the vice president of Connecticut College, a position he has held since 2000. He also is the chairman of the Board of Directors at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, was the chairman of both the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, tutors at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, is an active member of Shiloh Baptist Church and is part of the Rotary Club of New London.
“Being committed to his community is not a temporary situation for Ulysses,” Chamber President Tony Sheridan said. “He has been committed since the beginning. It is consistent.”
Unlike the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award, which is given annually, the William Crawford Distinguished Service Award is given out only when somebody really stands out, Sheridan said. The last time the award was given out was three years ago, he said.
The William Crawford Distinguished Service Award is given to “an individual who has materially contributed to the region’s well-being,” according to a chamber press release. Bill Stanley Jr., the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said the award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person.
“When you think of the word leadership, Ulysses Hammond really personifies it,” Stanley said.