Business Community Honors Military at Harford Chamber’s 44th Annual Military Appreciation Event

On May 20th, 2021, the Harford County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 44th Annual Military Appreciation Event in a virtual format. Sponsored by Freedom Federal Credit Union, the event is an opportunity for the business community to come alongside servicepeople and veterans and show their gratitude. With the theme Emergence: Army Strong, this year’s presentation featured guest speaker Major General (Retired) Linda Singh, Ph.D., the first woman and first African American to lead the Maryland National Guard.

Karen Holt of the Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development and Sue Manning of Freedom Federal Credit Union, Co-Chairs of the Harford Chamber Military Affairs Committee, welcomed attendees. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman offered words of gratitude for our military community. “As we emerge from the global pandemic, we can reflect on the significance of our Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and our great American defense community. We have sustained our mission, maintained our readiness and are providing critical supports for logistics of the vaccination administration nationwide,” Glassman stated.

Major General Mitchell L. Kilgo, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics and Command Senior Commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground addressed attendees. “Organizations across APG have leveraged their unique capabilities to respond to the pandemic,” he said, praising the resilience and rapid response of our local defense community.

The Chamber recognized local World War II Veteran, the late William Kruse. Mr. Kruse served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific, and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

The late Colonel James V. “Capt. Jim” McMahan was honored for his service as a decorated veteran, Harford County Councilman, and a true fried to our defense community. “Capt. Jim” and his lifetime of service will be memorialized in the proposed renaming of the Harford County Veteran’s Commission to the James V. “Capt. Jim” McMahan Harford Commission on Veterans Affairs, to be acted upon on June 8th.

Mike MacPherson, President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union, spoke about his appreciation for our Military Community.Seeing the proud men and women further our country’s recovery efforts right here at home has been another reminder or your unwavering service to our nation and the protection of our people, not just abroad, but right here at home too,” he said.

Guest speaker Major General (Retired) Linda Singh, Ph.D. remarked on her own experience in the Army National Guard and the ways it has impacted her life. Homeless at the age of seventeen when she was recruited, Dr. Singh went on to eventually lead the Maryland Army National Guard and is now a business owner/CEO of Kaleidoscope Affect LLC, a leadership consulting company. She has also served as senior advisor to the Governor of Maryland, interim director of TEDCO, and currently as Towson University’s Inaugural Leader-in-Residence. She remarked on the relentlessness of our service people, and the importance of giving back after one retires from the military. She cited that nine percent of all small businesses are owned by veterans, employing 5.8 million employees and generate $210 billion in annual payroll. (SBA)

Certificates were presented to the Aberdeen Proving Ground NCO of the Year Sergeant Elizabeth Melendez and Soldier of the Year Specialist Zachary Bayer. They are currently assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USMRICD).

Each year, the Harford Chamber awards a volunteer who has demonstrated a significant level of commitment to the community, to the military, and to the Chamber with the General Appel Award. This year’s recipient was Sue Manning of Freedom Federal Credit Union. Sue is active in her local community, serving on numerous non-profit Boards of Directors and Co-Chair of the Harford Chamber Military Affairs Committee.

The Harford County Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to thank our veterans, active duty military, the Aberdeen Proving Ground community, and all who serve.

About the Harford County Chamber of Commerce: The Harford County Chamber of Commerce has worked continually as the recognized voice of business in Harford County since 1976. The Harford Chamber is the premier business advocate in the county, helping members connect and thrive to create a vibrant economy across all sectors. For more information, please contact Kate Rodriguez at

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