MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — -- Col. Adele E. Hodges, the commander of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune received the 2006 Jacksonville Onslow County Chamber of Commerce Woman of the year award during the 63rd Annual Membership Celebration held at Marston Pavilion here Jan. 10.
Hodges received the award for her contribution to the Chamber of Commerce and the community, said Jan Slagle, the mayor of Jacksonville.
Slagle had received the award last year and introduced Hodges as the winner at this years awards presentation.
In her speech, she spoke of how Hodges had immediately recognized the unique community and relationship here, and made it clear to the chamber that her role as an ex-officio member of the chamber board of directors was an important one in her leadership.
“She has won the appreciation, adoration and affection of this community,” said Slagle.
Hodges constantly kept the chamber informed of deployments, rotations and changes in policy that could effect the community and commerce, said Slagle.
Slagle also spoke of Hodges military career as well as her contributions to the community and reminisced about how Hodges had volunteered to serve food at fish frys to hundreds of Marines who were blissfully unaware that their base commander was the one serving them food.
“I cannot even begin to thank you for this honor,” said Hodges. “I did not expect this. It’s kind of like the day I took command. I’d like to thank all of you for this honor. I do this because I love the Marine Corps and I love this community.”
Nearly three hundred people attended the event including many prominent members of the base and community who watched as Hodges family entered the room to see her be named the woman of the year.
“I’m over whelmed,” said Ollie Hodges, Hodges’s mother. “It’s unbelievable but they tell me through God you can do anything. We are so proud of her.”
Hodges’s mother along with many other members of her family traveled from Connecticut to be with her in her big moment.
Hodges thanked the community for their support of the base and to the military during her acceptance speech.
“We couldn’t do what we do without your support,” said Hodges. “I think it is great that you open your arms to this installation.”