Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Class of 1995
I participated in the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Leadership program, class of 1995. Recently we got together to celebrate a classmate’s new book, Hamm Rules. Lenny Hamm was a district commander the Baltimore City Police Department in 1995, and subsequently became the Chief of Baltimore City Police. He’s not the only published author in the class. Since we graduated, I know of at least four other classmates who’ve written books – Jackie Gaines, Robert Gordon (not yet published), Nancy Olah, and Dana Stein. Last night we talked about the books within us, not yet written. Mary Lynn Devlin, approaching retirement as Vice President of Union Hospital in Cecil County, talked about attending a writer’s workshop and receiving a button to wear, “Ask me about my book.” It’s a way to get you thinking and talking about what you want to write.
Perhaps more serious than writing, grave illness and even death have touched many of us. We’ve lost Martha Benton and Bryan Yolles. We’ve suffered breast cancer and prostate cancer, depression, back surgery, and more. And our partners, parents, and children have been afflicted with a host of maladies, too.
What remains constant about these colleagues is their unfailing optimism. Even though deeply concerned about conditions in Baltimore, especially following Freddie Gray’s death and the unrest it sparked, even in the face of personal loss, disability, and death (John Herron was pronounced dead on the operating table and miraculously came back), even given career setbacks and economic hardships, the pervasive feeling in the group is hope. And at our recent gathering, each person expressed gratitude for what he/she has experienced as an individual, family member, and participant in community life.
I attend as many of the Class of 1995 events as I can because I always leave feeling supported and uplifted. As one of my colleagues said, everyone genuinely cares about the others, and that is what is precious about this group of people.