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Bel Air commissioners honor student, retired mail carrier

Bel Air commissioners honor student, retired mail carrier
Bel Air Mayor Robert Reier poses with Oladokun Ekundayo, a senior at The John Carroll School, with a student achievement award Monday evening. (Courtesy of Michael Krantz)

The Bel Air town commissioners honored multiple people, organizations and events with proclamations Monday, including a senior at The John Carroll School and a former mail carrier who spent more than 30 years delivering mail in downtown Bel Air.

The commissioners first recognized John Carroll senior Oladokun "Ola" Ekundayo, who plans to attend the Air Force Academy next year, for her academic, athletic and extracurricular accomplishments.

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"She is the definition of a kind and caring person," Mayor Robert Reier said as Ekundayo stood next to him.

Her parents and siblings were also in the audience at the Bel Air Town Hall, and they took photos as Reier spoke.

Reier noted Ekundayo has completed 16 Advanced Placement and honors courses during her high school years, and she has been accepted into the National Language Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society.

He also listed the many sports, such as basketball, track and volleyball, and extracurriculars, such as jazz band, speech and debate, student government and the Student Honor Society, in which she participates.

"Ola is a natural leader, which is enhanced by her positive personality," Reier said.

The mayor also highlighted Ekundayo's acceptance by the Air Force Academy.

"I think that's just outstanding and deserving of [applause]," he said as he and the rest of the audience applauded loudly.

Mail carrier honored

Reier also read from a proclamation to honor Forest Hill resident Dennis Schultz, who retired in January after more than 40 years with the Postal Service.

Schultz started working for the Postal Service in Edgewood in 1974, and he came to Bel Air in 1977. He walked his downtown Bel Air route along Main Street and the surrounding areas from 1981 until he retired.

Reier said he and Schultz would often talk about the Baltimore Orioles when they met around town.

"Dennis has been, I think, the quintessential letter carrier and certainly an extremely important part of our community for many, many years," Reier said.

Reier said Schultz is a "very humble man," and he "doesn't think he really has done anything exceptional."

"He went to work, much like Cal Ripken [Jr.] did and performed his job quite admirably, but he's exceptional in the way that he did his job and certainly for the way that he cared for people," Reier said.

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Reier said Schultz was known for helping his customers with letters and packages, as well as helping elderly and disabled people along his route.

"This is an extremely important and vital service," Reier said of delivering the mail.

Schultz told the commissioners he has been in Bel Air since age 16, and he has watched it grow and change.

"It's been a lot of good years, and still [has] a lot of good years ahead of it," he said.

Boys and Girls Clubs 25th

Commissioner Edward Hopkins, who is also a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County board of directors, presented a proclamation to Tim Wills, executive director and "chief kid officer," in honor of the clubs' 25th anniversary.

Boys and Girls Clubs are in Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, Edgewood and Bel Air – the Bel Air club is in the McFaul Activities Center.

Hopkins noted about $150,000 was raised for the clubs through the annual Steak and Burger Dinner March 26.

The group's Youth of the Year was named during the event, and admission was free, although donations were encouraged.

"Every youth that I've talked to will tell you that the Boys and Girls Clubs has allowed them to become self-confident, self-assured," Hopkins said.

Wills thanked the town commissioners for their support.

"Thank you all very much," he said. "Good to see you, and make sure that you visit us at the McFaul Center."

Kite day/Arbor Day

The commissioners also presented proclamations in honor of the town's annual kite festival, which is scheduled for Saturday at the Rockfield Park athletic fields, and Arbor Day.

"No one can resist the universal exhilaration of using the wind to defy gravity making man-made flying objects," Commissioner Robert Preston said of kite flying.

Arbor Day will be celebrated April 24, and the town will sponsor a tree giveaway Saturday during Opening Day of the Bel Air Farmers' Market.

Bel Air Tree Committee Vice Chair Michael Simini said a stand for the trees will be next to the master gardeners' stand at the market.

Simini noted Bel Air has been recognized as a Tree City USA for more than 20 years. The committee oversees local tree-planting projects, the town's Arbor Day celebration and provides information on caring for trees.

"I think it makes the town a better place to live," he said of the community commitment to trees.

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