Giving Thanks to Volunteers

Giving Thanks to Volunteers

The InterService Club Council recognizes the community's 2004 Volunteers of the Year.

When the InterService Club Council in Fairfax first formed, its purpose was to help coordinate the outreach projects among all the various volunteer and community organizations, with the hopes of promoting understanding between the different organizations.

Every year, members of the various organizations nominate whom they consider as a Volunteer of the Year. Those nominees are recognized at an annual awards ceremony put on by the InterService Club Council.

This year, the recognized volunteers were honored for their contributions at an Aug. 4 ceremony at Old Town Hall. As they went up for their awards, they were congratulated for their efforts.

Whenever "I get asked what makes Fairfax a great place ... I think of you," said Fairfax mayor Rob Lederer to the volunteers, before the awards were handed out.

Patricia Garman, Chocolate Lovers Festival

Patricia Garman's peers on the Chocolate Lovers Festival called Garman "unselfish" with her contributions to the festival as the 2002 festival chairman. Garman, who works in capital planning and investments, was also responsible for getting many of the festival's records computerized.

"When she says she will do something, she will do something with 100 percent effort," said Garman's nominators.

Mary Ellen Alden, Fairfax Ferns Garden Club

Mary Ellen Alden, known as "Mellen" to club members, has been involved with the Fairfax Ferns Garden Club in various capacities, including photographer, treasurer, president and vice president. She has managed the winter and Christmas decorations of Old Town Hall, mentored fellow garden club members with planting advice and is president of another garden club in Fairfax.

"In spite of our busy schedule, Mellen is present at all our activities," said Hildie Carney, president of the Fairfax Ferns Garden Club.

Harry Avila, Fairfax Harley Owners Group

Jeff West of the Fairfax Harley Owners Group described Harry Avila as a "giving person." Avila is involved with outreach, safety training and organizing rides for the Fairfax Harley Owners Group. He also has served on the group's board for four years and is involved in the annual Ride of the Patriots over Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to his activities with the Fairfax Harley Owners, Avila collects and sends bicycles to Third World countries through his church, assists in collecting and sending clothes to a seminary in Latvia, serves meals to the homeless in Washington, D.C., and volunteers at the LambCenter.

Joseph A. Giroux, Fairfax Host Lion's Club

Among Joseph A. Giroux's many activities with the Fairfax Host Lions Club, he has served as secretary of the Lion's Club in 1998 and 1999. He also coordinates the food basket chain and works with Fairfax Fish to deliver food baskets and meals to local needy families.

Marion Floros, Friends of the Fairfax City Library

A resident of Fairfax City since 1979 and a volunteer at the Fairfax City Regional Library since 1997, Marion Floros had previously volunteered at the libraries of Westmore and Green Acres elementary schools.

At the Fairfax Library, Floros volunteers at the circulation desk.

"We really couldn't do without her," said Tina Cunningham, branch manager for the library. "Her thoughtfulness, her warmth and her sense of humor have made her a part of the circulation department."

Linda and Barry Bennett, Friends of the Fairfax Station

Although the Bennetts moved to Florida after retirement, that didn't stop the Friends of Fairfax Station from nominating them as Volunteers of the Year. As volunteers, the Bennetts had often supported the organization by carrying out day-to-day tasks. Barry Bennett served on the board, made sure that the antique clocks were running, took water samples and did much of the groundskeeping for the station.

Andrea Loewenwarter, Historic Fairfax Inc.

Hildie Carney of Historic Fairfax Inc. recited a long list of contributions that Andrea Loewenwarter has given to Historic Fairfax Inc. and Fairfax City. Loewenwarter was one of the original members advocating for the preservation of the Blenheim Estate, and she was instrumental in seeing to the restoration of the Ratcliffe-Allison House. She has also conducted extensive research on the history and the descendants of Civil War soldiers whose signatures are in the Blenheim attic. A board member of Historic Fairfax Inc. since 2003, Loewenwarter is chair of the Ratcliffe cemetery committee.

Norma Darcey, InterService Club Council

A Fairfax City resident since 1953, Norma Darcey has been involved in dozens of community activities. She is a past president of the Woman's Club of Fairfax, and she volunteers for the Chocolate Lovers Festival and the American Legion.

"This lady may be a little lady, but she's dynamite," said Larry Larson, president of the InterService Club Council.

Charles T. Anderson, Noonday Optimist Club

When Charles T. Anderson joined the Noonday Optimists, he had been in the Air Force for three decades. Anderson is the Optimists' sergeant at arms, and he will become one of the Optimists' vice presidents.

Thomas D. Yates, Rotary Club of Fairfax

With his "tireless" contributions to the Rotary Club, Thomas D. Yates’ most recent activity with the club has been to take over as chair of the annual golf tournament. Yates joined the Fairfax Rotary in 1990.

Pauline Mitchell, Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary

A 50-year resident of Falls Church, Pauline Mitchell volunteers for various activities for the Salvation Army. She was also a member of the Falls Church Community Council.

"Pauline has done just about everything," said Connie Louther of the Auxiliary. "She just epitomizes the word 'volunteer.'"

Toni Turner, Woman's Club of Fairfax

Toni Turner is the new president of the Woman's Club of Fairfax. Turner has been involved with the Woman's Club through the Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of the projects that raise money for the club. Through that, Turner helped coordinate the yard sale and the selling of baked goods at the holiday craft show at Fairfax High School.

Turner also handles the organization's newsletter, and volunteers at the Lamb Center, FACETS, the Northern Virginia Training Center and the Mental Health Center. She taught watercolor classes at the Little River Glen Senior Center.

Connie Brock, The Zonta Club of Fairfax

Connie Brock has been a member of the Zonta Club, an international executive women's service organization, since 1990. Through that, Brock has chaired the club's scholarship committee and has served in several other committees and offices within the club.

A staff nurse at Sibley Hospital, Brock volunteers as a kindergarten assistant at Deer Park Elementary, and she enjoys gardening.

Arthur "Art" Jones, Optimist Club of Central Fairfax

Through the Optimist Club, Arthur "Art" Jones has helped start other Optimist clubs outside central Fairfax. Jones currently serves the Optimist Club on the local level as a board member, and at the district level as lieutenant governor. He has manned the table at the holiday craft show at Fairfax High School, participated in the fruit and nut sales, and has rung bells for the Salvation Army's Christmas drive.

Earl Berner, Kiwanis Club

A member of the Kiwanis Club for three years, Earl Berner currently serves Fairfax City as its director of economic development. He is retiring soon and moving to Texas.