The Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center in Cherry Hill. Credit: South Baltimore Gateway Partnership.
The Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center in Cherry Hill. Credit: South Baltimore Gateway Partnership.

The Cherry Hill community will unveil their new “Hall of Fame Wall” at the Middle Brach Fitness and Wellness Center this Saturday during the third-ever Cherry Hill Hall of Fame ceremony. The wall, depicting hand-painted portraits of its inductees, aims to recognize impactful members of the Cherry Hill community and to inspire youth.

“We want to show the world what has come out of Cherry Hill over the last 40-50 years,” said Eric Hicks, a member of the Cherry Hill Hall of Fame Committee. “Pastors, top-end lawyers, musical groups, and even senators. We wanted to display them so we can show the youth and give them a reason to say ‘I wanna be on that wall.’”

Cherry Hill residents submitted 60 nominnees to the committee, which then selected this year’s honorees who were all born, raised, or lived in Cherry Hill. Winners will be awarded with either the Trailblazer, Legend, or Hall of Fame award. Saturday’s ceremony will see five Hall of Famers, 10 Legends, and nine Trailblazers recognized.

The Trailblazer Award will be bestowed upon individuals who have achieved significant milestones in fields such as education, military service, sports, entertainment, community engagement, politics, and business.

The Legends Award will be presented to those who have consistently maintained a remarkable level of achievement and have set exemplary standards for the generations to follow.

The Hall of Fame award, the most esteemed among the three, will be bestowed upon individuals who have attained an exceptionally high level of achievements, impacting both the local and national spheres, and have made a lasting and indelible mark on the community.

Legends and Trailblazers will be recognized with a plaque while the Hall of Famers will have their likeness painted on the Hall of Fame wall. 

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with a reception and an opportunity for attendees to mingle. Following that will be the unveiling of the Hall of Fame wall, a fashion show, award ceremonies for the Legend and Trailblazer awards, and a musical tribute to conclude the night.

Saturday’s ceremony stands out from the two preceding events in 2012 at the Walters Art Gallery and 2014 at Morgan State University, because this year’s event will take place within the Cherry Hill community that is being celebrated.

The Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center, which opened in November 2022 after a $23.1 million project, will serve as the venue.

“We had been waiting for this new center to be built for the past 6 years. We had old recreation centers and schools and stuff like that but this is brand new, ” Hicks said. 

He added, “We had trophies community members have won from things and we used to put them in the barbershop or in the restaurants to display. But then a new owner comes and stuff gets thrown away. So this location was ideal because it is going to be there forever. And the building sits smack dab in Cherry Hill where all these award winners grew up.”

Similar to the recently established fitness center, the idea of a community wall is novel to Hicks.

“From my understanding, we don’t know of any other [Baltimore] community that has a wall of fame. There aren’t a lot of communities recognizing their members and placing it on a wall,” Hicks said.

“We made it a Wall of Fame because we wanted to mimic the way the Hall of Fame is done in sports,” he said. “Football and baseball have Hall of Fame buildings. We now had this brand new recreation center and now all the hall of farmers will have hand-painted portraits up. And the Legends and Trailblazers will have a plaque up with previous winners. Everything will be displayed forever. Just like going into the baseball Hall of Fame building and getting to see who the hall of famer was.”

Hicks and his fellow members of the Cherry Hill Hall of Fame committee envision the Cherry Hill Hall of Fame as a model that can be repeated by all communities in Baltimore and create the expectation of greatness and responsibility in the minds of Baltimore’s youth.

Tickets to the Cherry Hill Hall of Fame ceremony can be obtained by contacting the Cherry Hill Hall of Fame and Legends Facebook page.

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