Newsmaker

November 27, 2005|By MELISSA HARRIS

Connie Bass

Occupation

Director of the Bea Gaddy Family Centers, a Baltimore-based, volunteer-run charity that works to combat hunger and solve other social problems.

In the news

Bass helped lead the 24th annual Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving dinner, which brought in more donations than any dinner in past years. Earlier in the week, with donations running low, Bass helped launch a public relations effort to ensure that enough food was on hand that no one who wanted dinner would be turned away.

Career highlights

Bass graduated from Baltimore's Western High School in 1974. A single mother at age 21, Bass moved in with Gaddy in 1980 while working as a legal secretary. "We were both having problems, and we sort of fell into each other," said Bass, who lives with her extended family in Cecil County. Bass was there when Gaddy served her first public Thanksgiving meal. In 2001, after Gaddy died of breast cancer, Bass went to work full time for her friend's charity.

Personal

Bass has one daughter, Jawana Roles of Edgewood, and two grandchildren, ages 7 and 9, which Bass calls her "hobby." Bass expects to be put on a waiting list for a heart transplant early next year. She said she has an enlarged heart and was found to have congestive heart failure four years ago.

Philosophy

"I never could understand Bea's drive, but today, I find that I'm driven in the same way," Bass said. "No one can fill her boots, but we can still help, feed and provide for people. We can do it."

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