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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Feb. 2, 2011

If you love your work, it'll never feel like work

By Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle 11th Wing Pubilc Affairs


April 1 is a big day. More commonly known as April Fools Day. Most Americans mark April 1st on their calendars as a day of jokes, jest and nothing more. On Mrs. Sandra M. Hopkins's calendar however, April 1st, 2011 holds a lot more weight. April 1 is the day Mrs. Hopkins begins a new chapter in her life and finally retires from her 11th Civil Engineer Squadron secretarial position.

After graduating high school in 1955, Mrs. Hopkins had dreams of exploring the world while still serving her country. She wanted to join the military. Unfortunately for her at the time though, Mrs. Hopkins was only 17 years old and had to wait a year before she could begin her military career. Soon enough however, Mrs. Hopkins enlisted in the Army and promptly found herself in a new and exciting world.

After her basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, Mrs. Hopkins went on to attend school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. From there she was stationed at First Army Headquarters in New York, which eventually led her to Camp Zama, Japan, where she served for nearly two years. After her time in Japan, Mrs. Hopkins was stationed at Head Quarters Military District of Washington for 30 months and shortly thereafter received orders to Naples, Italy where she served as a communications security secretary for three years. While in Europe, Mrs. Hopkins even had the opportunity to be given a special pass which enabled her to visit East Germany.

I really enjoyed myself while I was in the military, Mrs. Hopkins said. I learned a lot, and I got to see the world ... It was a very rewarding experience and I would not have traded it for anything.

The fondness Mrs. Hopkins has for her former military service is just the beginning of her content-about-life attitude too. Ask her about her current job at Joint Base Andrews and one can hear a similar affectionate tone. It seems that when talking to Mrs. Hopkins, even after 44 years of faithful military service, she has not worked a day in her life.
In 1966, Mrs. Hopkins became a civil servant as a secretary working for the military once again. In 1983, her job led her to Andrews Air Force Base where she continued her secretarial work for the Air Force Systems Command office here until she eventually relocated to the 11th Civil Engineer Squadron where she resides today. Mrs. Hopkins' 24-year career here has seen her through 15 Civil Engineer commanders and five presidential terms. All the while, Mrs. Hopkins reflects on her nearly 44 years combined military and civilian service with an utter fondness. She is not only eager about what her post-retirement life has in store for her, but also wishes the best to the individual who will eventually take her place.

"It's going to be difficult to tell the person that is taking my place about all the little things I do during the day," Mrs. Hopkins said. "Everyone keeps coming in here and saying 'oh you can't leave'... I guess I found a home here, I'm rooted."

When asked if she could leave her office with a final thought, Mrs. Hopkins did not hesitate in her response. True to her life-loving nature, Mrs. Hopkins wishes to leave on a high note come April.

"Enjoy it while you're here, and if you don't enjoy your job, maybe it's time to move onto something new," Mrs. Hopkins said. "I'm leaving here content and happy ... I also wouldn't mind seeing my Redskins win sometime."