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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- WUSA9 has lost a member of our family. Dorea Hicks was Executive Assistant for 6 General Managers until she retired in 2010. One of her first jobs here was assistant to the great newsman, Howard K. Smith.

On Sunday Dorea died at the age of 83 from complications following heart surgery.

A native Washingtonian, Dorea began her career here at Channel 9 back in 1968. That's 42 years of service to this station, and this community, both of which she loved dearly.

Dorea was literally the heart and soul of WUSA9. Some of us considered her our 'Work Mom'. Some of us even called her mom at the office. Dorea's hugs were legendary. Her smile was totally contagious. When she put her arms around you, you felt loved. When she smiled, no matter how upset you were, she made you feel happy.

Dorea was the genuine deal. Her compassion, attention to detail and loyalty were legendary. Even after she retired, Dorea sent in story ideas and yes, corrected our on-air and online mistakes.

In 2005 Dorea was awarded a Gannett Unsung Hero Award. Here is part of what was written about Dorea for this award, "Is there anything Dorea doesn't do? She assists the station's general manager, reviews thousands of requests for satellite waivers, helps new employees get settled, speaks to angry viewers, makes all the arrangements for important events, even does all the proofreading."

Dorea's nominator for the Gannett Unsung Hero Award wrote, "It might be easier to list the things she doesn't do."

In 1994 Dorea was honored with the Silver Circle Award which is one of the highest honors given out by the DC chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the broadcasting community during their 25-plus years in the business.

Dorea is survived by her 2 daughters, 4 grandchildren, and a great-grandson. To all of them our heartfelt sympathy.

Dorea Hicks, greatly loved and now sorely missed.

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