It's not everyone who has a day named in his or her honor, but Clifton's Wayne Nickum now has that claim to fame. Friends and family gathered Sunday evening, June 15, in Clifton resident Tom Peterson's backyard to throw a surprise 60th-birthday party for Nickum.
Besides serving as the town's mayor from 1982-92, Nickum has been on the Clifton Town Council since 1974 and always helps out during town events. So his friends decided it was about time that he got some official thanks and recognition for all he does.
Among the guests Sunday was Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kate Hanley who — eagerly accompanied by the party guests on each "whereas" — read a proclamation on a plaque that she presented to him. It told of Nickum's "gift for public service" and how it's benefited the community.
"On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I hereby proclaim Sunday, June 15, as 'Wayne H. Nickum Day' in Fairfax County," said Hanley. Then, calling Nickum a "living urban legend," she urged everyone present to join in his birthday celebration.
Former Clifton resident Pinkie Anchor read a poem she'd written especially for him, and town Councilman Bill Hollaway and Clifton Mayor Jim Chesley listed some of his many accomplishments. "During Wayne's time as mayor, Clifton earned its designation as a national historic landmark," said Hollaway. "I want to thank him for 30 years of spirited work for our community."
He then presented Nickum with the first-ever, Town of Clifton Community Service Award for Lifetime Achievement — along with three bottles of wine. Chesley said he's known Nickum since he first moved to town in 1976. He said Nickum came over right away and told him he'd have to replace the roof on his house with a tin one more in keeping with the historic nature of his home.
"He's a hard worker for the town, and you don't hear about a lot of the things he does," said Chesley. "I want to tell him how much we appreciate him — we always have." The mayor then presented Nickum with an executive key to the town.
In response to everything, Nickum — sometimes a man of few words — said, "Thanks; it's great to have a community like the Town of Clifton." Then he and the guests enjoyed a feast of barbecued hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages and homemade side dishes.
Town Council member Margo Buckley organized the event, along with Hollaway, Peterson and Chesley. Also helping were Hollaway's wife Phyllis, plus residents Robin Graine and Charlotte Fullerton.