Excellence in Staff Service
Receiving more than I give
Dollie Hebert-Crouch is “humbledhonoredsurprised” to have been selected as the 2006 staff recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Service.
She owes the honor, she says, to the top-notch Recreational Sports and Wellness team she has directed since 1997, to her supportive family, and to Olga Korbut?
Her staff at the Pennington Student Activity Center shares the award, she said, because they always pitch in on anything from staging the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to turning the SAC into a giant dorm for Hurricane Katrina support workers.
Her family contributes to the honor by keeping her focused, getting her through and boosting her over life’s ups and downs.
And Olga? Hebert-Crouch laughingly credits the pixyish high-flying gymnast with putting her on the track of a career in health and fitness.
“I was eight years old watching Olga Korbut perform on TV at the 1972 Olympics,” Hebert-Crouch said. “I told my mom, ‘I want to be her!’ So, I got into gymnastics. That’s where it all started for me. If I had never seen Olga, I don’t know where I would be today!”
Today, theBaton Rougenative is very glad to be in her dream job at her alma mater. Her gratitude to Southeastern, she indicated, makes “giving back” through service a no-brainer.
“There is a reason why you do service, but I don’t think you really think about it,” she said. “You do it because you feel like it’s the right thing do to. Service comes easy when you feel like you’re providing something for your family.”
Hebert-Crouch’s contributions of time and talent have benefited both her campus and her own family. Through Southeastern, she has become involved above and beyond the call of professional duty in annual projects such as Homecoming and Rock ‘n Roar, where she organizes and coordinates all the children’s events, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, for which she has served as chair, treasurer and head of logistics.
She’s also contributed to tons of campus and professional committees, created many wellness opportunities and participated in community activities from the Sweet Sixteen girls state basketball tournament, March of Dimes, and American Heart Association to Court Appointed Special Advocates, Girls Scouts and TARC.
The mother of 11-year-old Cameron and 15-month-old Laken, she gives time to Cameron’s Holy Ghost School, literally “serving” on the cafeteria line, working with the Home and School Board and annual fair, and coaching volleyball.
“You can always count on Dollie to be the first person to volunteer time, energy and all possible resources to insure that a program or a project is a success,” said Amy Oberschmidt, director of marketing for Recreational Sports and Wellness.
Hebert-Crouch, said Jim McHodgkins, assistant dean of student development, “is a total package of what is best about Southeastern. Her caring attitude, love for the people and commitment to improve the community is part of what service is all about.”
Hebert-Crouch originally came to Southeastern to pursue a degree in physical education, a natural for a young woman with a life-long love of sports. In addition to gymnastics which might have taken her all the way to the Olympics if she hadn’t been sidelined by a broken arm she participated in a variety of childhood organized sports, and played volleyball and basketball and ran track in high school.
At Southeastern, in addition to her job as a Recreational Sports and Wellness student worker, “I played intramural sports and had a ball doing it,” she said. “I think that’s when I started to realize that I wouldn’t mind being in a field where I could share with others my love of sports and what I’d learned about how it makes me feel about myself both healthy and self-confident. I used to tell Jim (McHodgkins), ‘I sure would love to have your job!’”
Initially, however, she taught physical education at the Southeastern Lab School and directed the wellness and intramurals program at Delgado Community College. But when Southeastern offered her the job of assistant director for intramurals and recreational sports in 1993, she was thrilled. “It was like coming home warm, welcoming, and comfortable,” she said. She moved up to interim director two years later.
She joined Recreational Sports and Wellness just in time to be in on the planning, designing, construction, equipping and operation of the 82,000 square foot, $11 million Pennington Student Activity Center,” which opened its doors in 2001. The building, she said, has been a catalyst for many of her service activities. Her enthusiasm shows as she talks about immediate and long-range plans for the expansive building, ranging from a juice bar to massage therapy to an outdoor “leisure pool.”
“Dollie loves what she does and is never satisfied with the status quo,” McHodgkins said. “She always has a vision of the next possibility that will help someone else improve their lot in life.”
“I feel like everybody who walks in here is part of who we are, who I am, and I’m going to treat him or her the way I want to be treated,” she said. “My first goal always is to make sure that at this facility we’re providing the best quality service that we can to students, faculty staff, alumni, friends of alumni. That just goes without saying; it’s part of the job. We always try to improve every year. ”
“Anytime you can feel like you’ve given back to the community and to a department that gives so much to you, it’s a good feeling,” she said. “Service is a never-ending gift to others. It is a gift I intend on giving for years to come.
“And I often end up receiving more that I could ever give,” she said.