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News Opinion Readers Respond

Willard Hackerman's well-lived life [Letter]

The Sun's editorial on the late developer Willard Hackerman was very even-handed in summing up the extraordinary contributions of this great man ("Baltimore's man to see," Feb. 10).

However, I believe there is a deeper level to consider when viewing his contributions. Being wealthy, powerful and connected is no reason to treat someone unkindly or suspect them of wrongdoing.

I briefly worked for Whiting-Turner as a carpenter in 1975. After repeatedly banging my thumb with a hammer, I realized that my talents lay elsewhere. For the last 25 years I have been helping non-profits partner with corporations in Baltimore through sponsorships in special events.

The contributions that Mr. Hackerman made to these non-profits were always anonymous. His philanthropy went beyond the traditional marketing benefits of being a good corporate citizen. It is often easy to demonize developers or successful business people. Peter Angelos is another example of someone who has given far more to the non-profit world than most realize.

None of us are perfect, but Mr. Hackerman changed Baltimore for the better. He did this with class, dignity and a great work ethic. On former Gov. William Donald Schaefer's 88th Birthday, Mr. Hackerman paid for a statue to be unveiled at the Inner Harbor. Looking out over the harbor that day I became misty eyed thinking of all that has been accomplished by our great civic leaders over the last 25 years.

While Mr. Hackerman's modesty would have rejected the idea, a statue honoring him beside his good friend Mr. Schaefer would be a fitting tribute to his impact on Baltimore and a life well lived.

Blake Goldsmith, Baltimore

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