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Token of thanks

Appreciation Lunch

D3 Chianti Woodfork, D3 Nigel Kasali and D2 Collin Burns serve food to Ruthie Hubbard, switchboard operator, Sidney
Whitley, assistant chief of security, and Gladys Lindo, environmental services technician.

Media Resources/Steven Doll

Dental students wanted a way to show their appreciation for the college’s service staff. So they started with lunch.

Martha Kondra’s first exposure to the dental school was as a concerned parent. Her son’s teeth had been shattered. He was in pain and, what’s more, he was suffering from a recurring upset stomach as a result.

“They got him through it,” Kondra, now an environmental services staff member, says of the dental students and faculty who treated her son. “A few years later, here I am full circle, working here.”

She still hasn’t forgotten the positive experience and makes sure to tell students she encounters how much she appreciates their efforts to pursue the dental profession.

On Nov. 28, it was the students’ turn to share their appreciation for Kondra and nearly 70 other environmental services, facilities and security staff members. The college’s Student National Dental Association hosted a lunch and dinner; that way both day and evening crews could participate.

The events had support from Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry chapters of the following organizations:

  • Hispanic Student Dental Association
  • Muslim Student Dental Association
  • Delta Sigma Delta
  • Xi Psi Phi (ZIPs)
  • Psi Omega
  • Texas Association of Women Dentists
  • Christian Medical and Dental Association

“I think it’s awesome,” Kondra said during the lunch. “It always feels good to be appreciated for the work we do.”

For some environmental services staff members like Kondra, it’s work that begins before dawn, when they arrive to make sure all the dental school’s clinics are cleaned before patient appointments begin.

“The custodial, maintenance and security staff go above and beyond to keep this school intact,” says D3 Patricia Adesanya, president of the college’s SNDA chapter and one of the event organizers. “They deserve the recognition for all of their hard work.”

The desire to host an event recognizing service staff was really an accumulation of ideas among Adesanya, D2 Jiro Akpobome, vice president of the college’s SNDA chapter, and the club’s adviser, Dr. Jon Clemetson, ’02, ’10, who is a clinical assistant professor and president of the Baylor College of Dentistry Alumni Association.

“Dr. Clemetson explained to us that when he was here at Baylor, the students organized such an event,” Akpobome says. “We can all agree that it is nice to feel appreciated for the work one does, and what better way to show our thanks by truly letting all of the service staff know just how much we appreciate what they do for us?”

Over lasagna, chicken alfredo and salad, staff members visited with co-workers and dental students.

It’s not an everyday occurrence.

“I’ve been here five years, and this is the first time they’ve done this that I know of,” says Jay Pinson, master plumber in facilities. “It was very thoughtful.”