Clyde Baker

Clyde Baker

Editor’s Note: Each year, the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio honors local residents and groups as part of the Hometown Heroes program. Our 2019 series continues today.

This story appears in the Tuesday, Sept. 24 newspaper on Page A1.

It is easy to tell how dedicated Clyde Baker is to community service.

Just give him a call, and his voicemail serves as a clue. His message goes beyond the typical callback prompt, instead informing that he is taking reservations for The Plains Community Park — a place he helped to create.

Now retired as an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio University, Baker is known for being reliable, hardworking and devoted to helping those in his community.

Baker has a hand in organizing many notable events in this area, including the Athens Fourth of July celebration and The Plains Indian Mound Festival. He’s been a member of The Plains’ Lions Club for over 30 years. His service with The Plains Volunteer Fire Department stretches back more than 50 years, and he is now the department’s treasurer.

He’s also humble to boot. Asked about the many projects he’s been involved with over the past 50 years, Baker replied, “I have a very tolerant wife.”

Along with the fire department work, Baker has been a longtime Red Cross volunteer and was once the local chapter’s disaster chairman. Back in 1967, Baker was among the first people to reach the Silver Bridge disaster site and he spent days assisting with the response. In fact, the State Highway Patrol utilized his wife’s new vehicle that had been equipped with emergency lights to be used with The Plains’ fire department.

Baker was once involved in starting a pager business in town. For a time, Athens Business Communications improved response times for emergency crews like fire and police departments. He also spent nearly 20 years as an emergency medical technician and an EMT/CPR instructor.

For this lifetime of community engagement, Baker is being honored with the Red Cross’ Public Safety Hero award.

Baker characteristically gave credit to the many others he’s worked with in his myriad of organizations and projects.

“I would say there are a bunch of hidden heroes that make things happen around here,” he said.

Bill Snider, a fellow resident of The Plains, nominated Baker for the award and highlighted several other activities. For example, Baker learned many years ago that The Plains lacked a Boy Scouts troop. Baker, an Eagle Scout himself, started an “Explorer Post” and served as Scoutmaster for a year to help the program get off the ground.

Another avenue for service has been The Plains Improvement Committee — members have worked on such projects as building a sidewalk near Athens High School to establishing a “little lending library” in town. Simply put, Baker said he likes to stay busy and give back to his community.

“I’ve done a few things in my life,” he said. “I enjoy it, I think it needs to be done.”

The Public Safety Hero Award is sponsored this year by AEP. Baker and eight other Hometown Heroes will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Christ Community Wesleyan Church, Albany. Tickets are available through Sept. 30 at the Athens chapter office (100 S. May Ave.).

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