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Chilton Co. trainer Barry Baker named AHSAA 5A Making a Difference Award winner

Chilton County Athletic Trainer Barry Baker Makes a Difference Every Single Day

MONTGOMERY – There is no wonder that Barry Baker has spent his entire adult life serving others. He learned that lesson from his parents.

“My dad is now 80 and can still be found working as part of the chain crew on the sidelines of Chilton County football games,” said Baker. His mom is a community leader as well.  Barry has been on those same sidelines as the school’s athletic trainer for the past 25 years and spent another six years as a CCHS football coach as well.

“I appreciate them for showing me the importance of helping others,” he said. “We’ve been able to help many people along the way.”

Baker’s dedication to his hometown has not gone unnoticed. He was selected as the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 5A ‘Making a Difference Award’ recipient for 2020. He is one of seven individuals selected for the prestigious honor – given to those who go above and beyond to make a difference in their school and community. Baker has been legally blind since he was a youngster, losing his sight while in junior high due to a disease called macular degeneration.

Although he admits the adjustment was quite a challenge at first, “you just learn to do what you can do,” he said. “You don’t make excuses. If you want to do something enough, you will find a way.”

A co-owner of Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness, Baker not only has a fulltime occupation but has volunteered for 25 years assisting in the care and development of the athletes at Chilton County High School as well as other Chilton County and central Alabama schools. In 2017, he voluntarily started a sports medicine class for interested students at Chilton County High. 

In addition to his involvement with the Chilton County Board of Education, Barry started and manages a local kid’s flag football league, kid’s basketball league, and is a board member for Clanton Youth Baseball. In addition, he coaches in all three leagues.

“Barry is a vital member of our community who serves the students/children of our community with a servant’s heart displaying love and passion,” said Chilton County High School athletic director and head football coach Tal Morrison. “His love for his alma mater and passion to help and treat those student-athletes that represent his school, town and county is immeasurable.”

Baker serves as the athletic trainer for Chilton County High School and Clanton Middle School and also reaches out to the other schools in Chilton County when his help is needed.

“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to be selected for the Making a Difference Award,” Baker said. “To be honest, I am very humbled and surprised. I love working with the kids and the coaches … I love what I do.”

A 1991 graduate of Chilton County High School, Baker played football, was a member of the powerlifting team, and threw shot put for the track team. He then received a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from Troy State University’s School of Health and Human Services where he was a member of the Gama Beta Phi Honor Society and served as a student athletic trainer for track/cross country, football, baseball, softball, and basketball teams. Upon graduation, he began working as a licensed athletic trainer and took on the role of Director of Sports Medicine for Chilton County.

Realizing his entrepreneurial spirit, Baker decided to return to school where he completed an MBA at Troy’s Sorrell College of Business in 2000.  After completing graduate school, the former state champion power lifter perused another passion and became licensed as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in 2010 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Morrison said, “Barry Baker’s approach to life, his ability to overcome so many obstacles and his positive influence has been changing the lives of everyone around him. He means so much to our school and to our students. He has literally made a difference each and every day in all that he does for the students at our school and community. Most importantly, his approach to life emphasizes his ability of not dwelling on circumstances beyond his control, but choosing to work instead to find a way to be successful no matter the obstacle.”

Baker says he is humbled by the recognition. “It is really about the relationships. I love what I do,” he said. “After 25 years, you can’t go anywhere without running into someone who you’ve helped or given advice to. There’s nothing better than watching a kid return from an injury to get back on the field.”

COMING FRIDAY: Class 4A Making a Difference Award Recipient Joseph Clements of West Blocton High School