Lacks group honors community leaders
Man and Woman of Year recognized
Turnout was robust at the second annual Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group (HLLG) Luncheon last Friday at Fleming Senior Center in Turner Station.
Community members and leaders, along with elected officials, religious leaders and others, gathered to honor Henrietta Lacks, recognize outstanding community members and raise funds for the continuation of HLLG’s work.
Lacks, a former Turner Station resident, died of cervical cancer in 1951. Her cells, unusually prolific, have been used in many of the most important medical advances in modern history. They continue to be used widely in research today.
Since 2011, HLLG, spearheaded by president Courtney Speed, has worked to promote Lacks’ legacy and importance to modern medical history.
Among the group’s initiatives are efforts to fund a wax figure of Lacks to be placed in Baltimore’s National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. Funds raised last Friday will go toward that goal.
A portion of last Friday’s proceeds also benefit CCBC’s Henrietta Lacks Endowed Scholarship. Created in 2012, the scholarship awards STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students — with a preference for Turner Station residents — studying at CCBC.
To date, the endowment, founded by CCBC professor Michael Walsh and his students, has awarded scholarships to 20 students totaling $14,000. There is currently $31,000 in the endowment fund.
Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis, CCBC president, was on hand at this year’s luncheon to recognize “three outstanding STEM students” — this year’s awardees.
Winners of the scholarship included Patricia Balram of CCBC Essex, a former Turner Station resident. She is studying computer science.
Other awardees were John Heuchan, an information technology student from CCBC Dundalk, and Yomiyu Fekadu, engineering student, longtime Dundalk resident and graduate of Sollers Point Technical High School.
The luncheon also served to honor three Turner Station residents who have impacted their community in positive ways.
The 2017-2018 Woman of the Year was Mary Branch. A resident of Turner Station for the past 68 years, Branch is an active parishioner at Sacred Heart of Mary Church, avid community volunteer, and has served as leader of Turner Station Cub Scout Pack 270 for more than 53 years.
For Branch, serving others is a calling.
“My day is always complete when I have helped lift anyone’s spirits,” she said.
The 2017-2018 Man of the Year was Larry Bannerman.
A longtime Turner Station resident, Bannerman believes in investing his time, energy and talents into the community he has called home for most of his life.
Retired from BGE, Bannerman is active in the community, working with Turner Station Conservation Teams, Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and youth sports.
He is a board member of the Turner Station Conservation Teams and represents the community on Port of Baltimore and Maryland Department of the Environment committees, among others.
Bannerman and his wife are passionate about investing in their community.
“We do not like the term ‘giving back’,” he said. “We prefer to say we are investing in Turner Station, because the community is the people and the programs that keep it going.”
In addition to Branch and Bannerman, David D. Marshall was honored as 2017-2018 Business Person of the Year.
Third-generation owner of Marshall’s Trash Removal, Marshall is also passionate about service. He is working on starting Marshall’s Greater Development Institute, a non-profit dedicated to, as he noted, “getting ex-offenders back on their feet.”
“God called me into a life of service,” Marshall said at last week’s event. “Your legacy should be what you did for someone else, not what you did for yourself.”
Each of the honorees received an award and honorary citations from the General Assembly, presented by state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6) and Dels. Adrienne Jones (D-10) and Ric Metzgar (R6).
The luncheon also included remarks from Dr. Joanne Martin, founder and president of the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Alfred Lacks Carter, grandson of Henrietta Lacks, and prayers by Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the Rev. Eric Johnson of Union Baptist Church and the Rev. Kay F. Albury of St. Matthew United Methodist Church.
For more on the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group, visit www.henriettalackslegacygroup.com.
On hand to honor Woman of the Year Mary Branch (second from left) were (from left) state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6) and Dels. Adrienne Jones (D-10) and Ric Metzgar (R-6).
PHOTOS BY NICOLE RODMAN CCBC president Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis (second from right) and Henrietta Lacks; grandson Alfred Lacks Carter (far left) pose with winners of the CCBC Henrietta Lacks Endowment Scholarship, including (from left) John Heuchan, Patricia Balram and Yomiyu Fekadu.
Businessperson of the Year David Marshall (left, with state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling), is third-generation owner of Marshall’s Trash Removal.
Wax figures from the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum graced the hall during last Friday’s luncheon.
A painting of Henrietta Lacks by David Horst was available for auction.