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Long-time youth sports leader earns Princess Anne's Citizen Merit Award


PRINCESS ANNE — Never seeking the spotlight but not shy of doing the work it requires to be a leader in the community, Brian Laird was the Princess Anne Commissioners’ Citizen Merit Award recipient for October.

The lifelong resident of Venton and now a great-grandfather, Mr. Laird played sports from elementary school through to Washington High School, excelling in baseball, soccer and basketball, and then football and baseball at UMES from 1974-76.

He also was an active player and coach of the Eastern Shore Baseball League since its inception in 1982.

“Coach Laird has dedicated nearly 40 years of service to making sure the youth in Princess Anne and Somerset County have the opportunity to play competitive sports,” said Commissioner President Joey Gardner.

“He helped start the youth football program that has continued uninterrupted since 1975, coaches varsity baseball at Washington High School for the past 24 years, and reorganized youth baseball in Princess Anne four years ago with the Babe Ruth-Cal Ripkin Jr. League.”

Besides managing and coaching he’s maintained fields, provided transportation, and organized countless fundraisers to make youth sports possible.

For his service to the town, the award “is a permanent record of gratitude for his service to the community,” Mr. Gardner said, adding that he was pleased to see so many family members in attendance to witness the award presentation at the start of the monthly legislative meeting.

Mr. Gardner said Mr. Laird doesn’t complain, and “if he sees something that needs to be done, sees a need in the community, he’s going to try and fix it or find someone for a way for that to happen.”

He’ll tell you he didn’t do this by himself, Mr. Gardner continued, but the family and people Mr. Laird surrounds himself with have the same goals as he does and gets things done. “It doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Mr. Laird thanked the board for this honor, and credited the many people “who turn this wheel each day and each year.”

“It’s our privilege to see a young man or a young lady, depending on what sport it is, to be able to participate and see that no child is left behind.” “The town has been good to us…and I’m proud to receive this honor.”

It was Commissioner Marshall Corbin who recommended Mr. Laird for this award, which was first presented in June 2021 following a vision of now-former Vice President Garland Hayward that civic-minded community members that go “above and beyond” be recognized.

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