Celebrating Our Dads

Top Dad Michael Battle

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, June 19, 2015 

On Sunday, families across Baltimore will celebrate our dads: the hardworking and supportive men who are often the first ones up in the morning and the last ones to go to bed at night.  So it’s no coincidence that I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about my own father. 

Always willing to listen or to lend a hand, my dad was not just a wonderful father to me and my siblings, but also a mentor to many throughout Baltimore and across Maryland. A man who never expected anything in return for his sacrifices, he was always fond of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve...you only need a heart full of grace; a soul generated by love.”

It was his unyielding commitment to that altruistic philosophy that inspired me to start the Baltimore’s Top Neighborhood Dads awards during my time as Council President. I wanted to give dedicated men, like my dad, the thanks they richly deserve. On Tuesday I had the honor of celebrating with our ninth annual winners. Selected by members of their communities, these were not just biological fathers, but men who have made a commitment to help build a thriving city of wonderful neighborhoods. 

Men like Michael Battle. A fixture in the Cherry Hill community, Michael is always organizing one event or another. Shortly after the recent unrest, Michael jumped into action again, this time hosting a community cookout for the local children. In the midst of chaos, he wanted to create a safe, family-friendly environment where kids could just be kids, and where they could have an opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions to community leaders. And despite the circumstances, Michael did all this work with a big smile and even bigger heart. 

It was truly inspiring to honor Neighborhood Dads like Michael, for their compassion and service to our communities. They have shown that we all have something to contribute, and that each of us individually can have an immense impact in bringing about a brighter future for our city.

So congratulations to all of our Top Neighborhood Dads—and to all dads across Baltimore—for everything you do.

Happy Father’s Day.


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