One woman has devoted 30 years of her life to the Girl Scouts. One woman teaches Sunday school at St. Timothy’s Episcopalian Church. One gentleman may very well get himself elected mayor — outside of Herndon.
The Town of Herndon kicked off National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, by honoring three of its own at the 18th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Night on Sunday, April 21 at the Herndon Community Center.
“I WAS VERY surprised. A shock, but a pleasant one,” said 22-year Herndon resident Penny Halpern after being named a Distinguished Service Award recipient during the Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Night.
“I was just shocked,” said 16-year Herndon resident Carol Sinclair after receiving her Distinguished Service Award.
“That was a real surprise,” said 30-plus-year resident of Herndon and former Town Councilman Richard Downer also the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 1986.
The award winners have “demonstrated a willingness to assume multiple responsibilities,” said Herndon Mayor Carol Bruce. “These people have volunteered for over 10 years and have produced exceptional results. They have lent their support to many organizations and activities,” she said.
“This is a tribute to the volunteers as well as to the Town to have such an event to honor them,” said Herndon resident Carol Worth, herself a volunteer with the cultural arts center committee.
“I just received a 30-year pin for 30 years Girl Scout membership yesterday,” said Halpern of the award she received on Saturday, April 20. Halpern, who attended the volunteer night with her husband Les Halpern, is mother to two daughters Rachel and Kerry Halpern, both currently residing in Arlington.
Halpern encourages girls to join the Girl Scouts because it is “an opportunity for girls to be girls. That’s important — it has been cultural for so long to defer to boys or men. There is progress today, but scouting allows them to grow,” she said, noting that she works with girls in ninth through 12th grade.
“In the ninth grade, the girls are all giggles and can’t make decisions. By 12th grade, they’ve grown, they’ve matured and can make decisions,” said Halpern.
A FULL-TIME MOTHER, Sinclair is also involved with scouts — the Cub Scouts, as she and her husband Keith Sinclair have two sons, Jeff, 9, and Wray, 7. Sinclair, in addition to her involvement with St. Timothy’s, has also been president and vice president of the Herndon Women’s Club.
“I volunteer because it makes a difference. It’s something I enjoy. I enjoy being able to pick and choose — finding that niche. There’s an organization out there for all people, but people need to have it within them to do it. I like to be behind the scenes,” said Sinclair.
“IT’S WONDERFUL to live in a community that gives you so many volunteer opportunities,” said Downer who has taken his leadership role to Woodstock, Va. where he and his wife Linda Downer have built a house. Downer is already a member of the Business Enhancement Committee for Downtown Woodstock.
“I’m still very much involved with the cultural arts center committee and Mosby’s Raid on Herndon Station 2003,” said Downer, active in Herndon with the historical Society, Rotary and the Elden Street Players. Downer said he is looking for a volunteer to serve as co-chairman he can train. “Last year, I sent out an e-mail and in five minutes had eight volunteers. I had over 30 people working on it,” he said.
“It’s important to make a difference beyond your job and immediate family,” said 11-year Herndon resident Janette Neufville who works for EDS, but is a volunteer with the Northern Virginia Christian Fellowship in Herndon. She is also a volunteer at the Vienna Adventist Academy where her two children Anthony, 8, and Candace, 7, attend school.
“We take a Biblical approach,” said Neufville’s husband Densil Neufville, a respiratory therapist and volunteer at FISH.
The guest speaker was McLean resident Alice Starr who spends much of her volunteer time with the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation.
“I’m jealous of you. You have a great library here in Herndon — wonderful materials and great librarians,” said Starr about the Herndon Fortnightly Library. She also hopes for a bond referendum to help raise money for the library system. “Libraries account for 1.58 percent of all money spent in the county,” she said.
“Volunteering is an act of love. I love volunteering. I congratulate all of you here,” said Starr.