Banner celebrates Dorchester’s leaders

CAMBRIDGE – The Dorchester Banner honored eight quiet leaders of Dorchester County on Friday, in the sixth annual Hometown Heroes ceremony.

Often, when folks think about heroes, they picture grand gestures, even lifetimes, of conspicuous bravery, generosity or selflessness. Among this year’s honorees, there was evidence of all of that.

But this time, there was a bit of a twist.

“What makes them so special is that they never sought recognition,” Banner Publisher Darel La Prade said in his remarks to the audience gathered in the performance hall at Dorchester Arts Center.

“We want to believe in heroes,” he said, but have been doing it incorrectly – some heroes aren’t famous. “We need to lavish love” on people who aren’t recognized “in this celebrity-crazed culture,” Mr. La Prade said.

Dr. Donna Flaggs
Lifetime Achievement
Dr. Flaggs is a veterinarian and Town Council member in East New Market. She operates a nonprofit organization, Fixing Cats for Shore, and hosts a radio show on WHCP.
“I am in great company, so that makes me very happy,” she said.

Linda Aaron
Community Volunteer
Ms. Aaron has been a Pets on Wheels volunteer for 14, bringing her dog Katie to visit patients and staff at Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care. “I’m just so blessed,” she said.

Jason Bleyer
Mr. Bleyer is pastor of Bay Country Church. He coaches a variety of sports as he serves the youth of Dorchester.
“It’s very humbling,” he said.

Reese Hurley
Mr. Hurley has been a missionary for many years. He has traveled around the world, including to war zones, to bring the Gospel to others.
“I guess I’ve traveled at least 2 million miles,” he said. He got a big laugh from his friends and admirers when he added, “And I’m only 92 years old.”

Jason Dickerson
Emergency Responder
Mr. Dickerson is a detective for the Cambridge Police Department. He has received many awards as a police officer.
He expressed his gratitude for his wife Angela’s support. In a voice choked with emotion, he said, “Honey, thank you.”

Shelly Hurley
Business Volunteer
Ms. Hurley operates the Brookview Hope Home store. Through her kindness, generosity and faith, she supports more than 50 organizations with the proceeds from the shop.
“I would like to thank our God, because without his help, none of this would be possible,” she said.

Rebecca Redmer
Youth Leader
Ms. Redmer is director of St. Paul’s Methodist Church Young People Ministries, where she is a mentor, friend and life coach.
“This came as a surprise,” she said. “I try to be the adult I needed at that age.”

Dr. Laura Barnes
Dr. Barnes is a vice principal at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School. She is a former Dorchester County Teacher of the Year.
She said she is blessed “by the kids, who keep me young and on my toes.”

The heroes were sponsored by The Dorchester Banner, Choptank Health, Cambridge Marketplace, Adventist Church, Choptank Co-Op, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, Care and Share, and Chesapeake College.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at

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