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Washing Off the Dirt

War on graffiti waged by citizens.

Graffiti is not art. Graffiti is not a game. Graffiti is a crime. So states the brochure "Wipe Out Graffiti," published by the Clean Fairfax Council.

Lorton citizens took action recently to paint out the offensive graffiti under the Richmond Highway bridge over Pohick Creek. Twenty-six volunteers helped to paint over and obliterate the extensive graffiti that covered four concrete abutments on the underside of the bridge.

A number of organizations participated in partnership with the Mason Neck Lions Club, which sponsored the project and contributed supplies, logistics support and refreshments. Fourteen young volunteers from the Youth Activities Group of the Lorton Community Resource Center, directed by Tommy Cajanding, did the actual painting with latex paint, using rollers on long extension handles. A group of employees of the Fairfax County Norman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant taught the youths how to use the paint rollers and assisted with keeping the paint trays filled.

Volunteers from Fort Belvoir military included Spc. Derrick Reynolds and Pvt. Jason Lewis. Also Pauline Hunter, Donald Wagner and K. Walker of the Public Affairs Office were there helping to handle the painting materials and instructing the youth on paint-rolling skills.

FAIRFAX COUNTY Police representatives Pfc. Nicole Christian and Pfc. A. Matos, provided moral support and distributed "goodies" to the young volunteers. Christian and Matos are Bike Patrol officers who know the local neighborhood and residents well. They will be on alert to apprehend any "taggers" who attempt to deface the Pohick Creek bridge.

Before beginning the paint-out, the volunteers met at the Lorton Community Resource Center, where Joe Chudzik gave a short briefing on the problem of graffiti in the community and distributed copies of the "Wipe Out Graffiti" brochure.

The actual paint-out took 90 minutes of work and six gallons of latex paint. The paint was donated by Chris Brown, president of the nearby Williamsburg Square Home Owners Association.

Volunteers who participated included Atiya Marshall, Stephanie Harvey, Gabby Mitchell, Brandy Mitchell, Andy Cedeno, Chris Harris, Jerome Patton, Jessica Mackow, Donny Mock, Lorenzo Banks, Richard Livengood, Frank Day, Tom Nally, Dominique Williams, Perrin Mitchell, Emanuel Keene and Mickie Sullivan.