Herman Stevens presented with Lifetime Achievement Award

MD-Herman Stevens wins award_4x

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Honoring former Daily Banner publisher Herman Stevens were: front row, from left: Jim Thomas and Kay Stevens Thomas, Herman’s son-in-law and daughter; Janice Foxwell, a former employee; Herman Stevens; Sylvia Windsor; Comptroller Peter Franchot; Senator Addie Eckardt; Register of Wills Doris Lewis. Back row: Bonnie and Ray Stevens, Herman’s daughter-in-law and son; Sheriff Jim Phillips and City Commissioner Gage Thomas.

CAMBRIDGE — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot came to this town on Dec. 16, to present a lifetime achievement award to former Daily Banner owner Herman Stevens. The presentation was a surprise to Mr. Stevens, who was brought to the Bay Country Bakery by his family for the event early in the afternoon.

In presenting the award to Mr. Stevens, Mr. Franchot stated, “This in recognition of your lifetime achievements and unparalleled business, civic and charitable accomplishments for more than seven decades, and your dedication to serving the area’s communications needs through your ownership of The Daily Banner and radio station WAAI in Hurlock, Md.”

Mr. Franchot also stated that Herman Stevens’ work was a “career marked by generosity of spirit,” and delivered the proclamation to Mr. Stevens, “With my special appreciation for your commitment to serving your fellow citizens and improving the community.”

Comptroller Franchot also presented Mr. Stevens with one of his brand new Maryland Hero Medallions, presented for service, valor and sacrifice, for Mr. Stevens’ service in the Coast Guard in World War II.

Mr. Stevens started at The Daily Banner newspaper in 1949 as advertising manager. He was later promoted to business manager at the paper, and then general manager. After the death of the original publisher of the Banner, Arnold Daane, Mr. Stevens purchased a half interest in the company and became the president and publisher of the Banner. During this time he also founded a weekly newspaper on Kent Island, and in later years was founder and first president of The Bank of the Eastern Shore.

Herman Stevens was also one of the “Four Horseman of Cambridge,” who worked diligently to rebuild the economic landscape of the region after the closing of the Phillips Packing Company in the late 1950s. Mr. Stevens worked with a team of civic leaders, including Robert B. Davis, Donald Holdt, and F. Phillips Williamson, to entice businesses to locate in Cambridge and bring jobs to a region decimated by the ending of the local canning industry. Over the course of 13 years of hard work, the “Four Horsemen” succeeded in luring 18 new industries to the area.

“Herman Stevens was my neighbor,” said Senator Addie Eckardt, who attended the presentation. “He lived around the corner from me. I knew him as one of the Four Horseman, and when I was thinking about running for office, in the ‘80s, I talked to Herman first. He was one of the people I worked for, I had a lot of respect for his business skills, and his advice. Even today! He and the Four Horsemen were incredible, and they stayed here working with this community. Mr. Stevens has made a significant contribution, and we deeply appreciate that.”
“I was brought here by my family telling me I was coming to hear a speech,” said Mr. Stevens after the presentation. “I didn’t know it was going to be on my behalf!

“I am totally surprised, I really am. I thought I was coming here for another presentation or some such. I’m very pleased. It’s nice to have people say good things about you — some of it undeserved, of course.” When asked if he missed The Banner, Mr. Stevens replied, “Very much so. If I was able, I’d go back tomorrow.”

An avid reader of Sylvia Windsor’s ‘Ramblings’ column, Mr. Stevens smiled when he was asked by this reporter, “Do you miss Sylvia?,” who attended the presentation. “Very, very much!” was his reply.

“Mr. Stevens was my boss or ‘Chief’ as we all called him, for over 22 years,” said Ms. Windsor. “They were the best years of my 54 working at The Banner. He was not only our boss, but our friend and we could go to him with anything, personal or work related. He would even take my blood pressure if I felt like I was getting ready to have a stroke. He would roll up his blue oxford-weave shirt sleeves and help out whenever needed. My worst memories were when the computer needed fixing and he took a hammer to it. Just joking, he was the best, and all his employees loved him and still do!”

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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