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Honoring Helen of Baltimore

Helen Delich Bentley was a force around the world.

With the recent passing of Helen Delich Bentley, the state of Maryland not just the Port of Baltimore lost a powerful advocate. Additionally, women everywhere lost a remarkable role model. It was a privilege to know Helen and to work with her.

Like so many, much of their life's work may not be recognized until they have passed and the resultant honors bestowed upon them after their having left us. Kudos to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for not allowing that to happen to Helen by naming for her the port that she loved and fought so hard for over multiple decades. The surprise and pure joy on her face when this was announced at the port's 300th anniversary celebration was something to behold. She had the opportunity to know she was appreciated. How important!

It was in her advocacy for the Port of Baltimore in its entirety, not just the Maryland Port Administration, where she was most productive. All of Maryland's maritime industries have benefited from her love of an adopted waterfront and from the 50-plus-foot ship channel for which she fought so diligently.

Having traveled internationally with Helen, I first learned of her significant global presence as well. She was extremely well thought of, respected, and oft requested by leaders in the maritime industry. Many subsequent conversations have started with, "How's Helen?"

One Sunday morning we introduced two of my young granddaughters to Helen over breakfast. They were immediately impressed with Helen's self-confidence, her command of a room when in it, and the many people who spoke to her throughout the meal. They found her fun, generous and smart. Their words.

Brooks Royster, Baltimore

The writer is the former executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.

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