Lacks group hon­ors com­mu­nity lead­ers

Man and Wo­man of Year rec­og­nized

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTO BY NI­COLE ROD­MAN

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.

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