Gov. Larry Hogan had a whirlwind of public appearances in the Baltimore region Saturday as part of the Maryland Day observance, and he spent the majority of his time in Harford County.
The APG Federal Credit Union Area at Harford Community College was Hogan's first stop. He and First Lady Yumi Hogan were the honorary chairs of the inaugural Maryland Governor's Cup Taekwondo Championship.
The championship, which drew youth and adult competitors from around the Mid-Atlantic region, was put on by the Maryland State Taekwondo Association with support from the Korean Taekwondo Association of Maryland.
Yong Seong "C.J." Chang, of the U.S. Taekwondo Academy in Bel Air, was the tournament director and master of ceremonies. The Maryland State Taekwondo Association president asked the competitors gathered on the arena floor to demonstrate "the most energy and show of taekwondo spirit" as they welcomed the dignitaries. The dignitaries included the governor and first lady, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Dong Gi Kim, consul general of the South Korean embassy, and Hyun Deuk Oh, president of Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters.
Hogan wished everyone a "happy Maryland Day," the annual observance of the founding of the Maryland colony on March 25, 1634.
"It's really an honor to be here for the very first Governor's Cup Taekwondo Championship," he said.
Hogan noted the cultural ties between Maryland and South Korea, where taekwondo originated. First Lady Yumi Hogan is a native of South Korea.
Kim, the consul general, honored Yumi Hogan, the first Korean-American first lady in the U.S., as "a strong supporter of Korean heritage and culture."
The governor said South Korea was the first stop on his administration's first trade mission overseas, and he received an honorary 9th-degree black belt in taekwondo during that visit.
He named April 5, 2016, the inaugural Taekwondo Day in Maryland. Hogan also recognized Jimmy Rhee, his Special Secretary of Minority Affairs, among the dignitaries. Rhee is the son of Jhoon Rhee, who is credited with introducing taekwondo to the U.S.
"This martial art form is not only an important part of Korea's cultural legacy – and now it's an important part of our culture here in America – but its' also recognized for its positive values, promoting physical and mental health and discipline," Hogan said.
Hogan wished "the best" to the competitors.
"We hope everybody has a great time," Hogan said. "Thank you very much for being here."
Carsins Run at Eva Mar reception
Hogan rushed from HCC to the Maryland Golf and Country Club, off of East Macphail Road in Bel Air, for a reception honoring the grand opening of the welcome center for the Carsins Run at Eva Mar retirement community.
The developer, Presbyterian Home of Maryland, does not expect to start construction until November of 2018. Sue Shea, president and CEO of Carsins Run at Eva Mar, announced that at least 41 units in the 514-unit facility have been sold or reserved for deposits.
The facility, which is being built on the former Eva Mar farm off of Route 543 just north of the intersection with Route 22 east of Bel Air, is expected to open in 2020. It is the first retirement community in Harford County where senior citizens can "age in place" without leaving where they have raised their families.
Prospective residents can visit the welcome center on the site at 301 N. Fountain Green Road for more information. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on the weekends. Call 443-390-2590 for more information, or visithttps://www.carsinsrun.org.
"It's a great step for this important project, which I think is terrific for residents here in Harford County," Hogan told a banquet room filled with dignitaries, including state government officials, members of Harford's legislative delegation in Annapolis, Harford County Council members and past county executives such as Jim Harkins and David Craig.
"As the number of seniors increases, we must do everything that we can in Maryland to increase the resources and the options that are available to these individuals who contribute so much to our communities and who we want to keep right here in our state and right here in Harford County," Hogan said.
Hogan also presented a governor's citation to Shea and Joseph Slovick, the board chairman, for the "commitment you have demonstrated on behalf of the senior populations of Harford County and your positive contributions to our state."
Shea and Slovick presented a check signifying a $5,000 contribution for the Cancer LifeNet program at the Kaufman Cancer Center at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
Robert A. Chrencik, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System accepted the donation, and he also gave brief remarks about the partnership between the medical system, which is the parent organization of Upper Chesapeake Health, and Carsins Run at Eva Mar.
"Always feel free to call on us," he said. "We will be there every time, trust me."
Glassman was among the guest speakers. The county executive noted that in his travels around Harford he sees generations of people who work in institutions such as volunteer fire companies, public libraries and the Harford County Sheriff's office.
"This, for the first time, will give families generational opportunities to live and stay right here in Harford County," Glassman said of Carsins Run at Eva Mar.