The University community paused for a moment of celebration this week, as the Office of Dining Services celebrated Billie “Ms. Cookie” Brooks, in honor of her 50th anniversary of working at Catholic University. Brooks, who works in the food preparation area of the main kitchen, began working at Catholic University in 1969.
As part of the anniversary celebration, students and staff members were invited to share cake in Brooks’ honor. Willie Joyner, another long-time dining services employee, spoke briefly about Ms. Cookie’s career, and called her “top dog around here.”
“She’s the most humble person we have on this campus,” Joyner said. “She has served 50 years on this campus and she does it with a smile. I’ve never seen her frown and I’ve never heard her complain.”
University President John Garvey estimated Brooks has helped to serve “maybe a million meals” in her career to multiple generations of students, sometimes even parents and their children.
“She’s been here five times as long as I have and she’s been five times as important to the University,” he said.
Reflecting on her time at Catholic University, Brooks said some of her favorite times have been joking around with her coworker Alice Nedd, who has worked for the University for 41 years.
“We went through a lot together and we’ve had a lot of fun,” Nedd agreed. “I’m proud for her.”
As for her big anniversary, Brooks called the lunchtime celebration “surreal.”
“I didn’t think I would be here as long as I have, but I just love the work and I love the people,” she said. “I try to treat everybody the way they treat me — special.”