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"Best of Reston" Lines Up

3th annual awards ceremony honors community service

Seven volunteers, organizations and businesses were named Thursday as recipients of the 13th annual "Best of Reston" awards for their decades of community service.

The awards, sponsored by Reston Interfaith and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, will be presented at black-tie benefit on April 22 at the Reston Hyatt Regency. The awards ceremony is Reston Interfaith’s largest fundraiser, having generated $140,000 last year for the local nonprofit, said Kerrie Wilson, Reston Interfaith’s executive director.

“(Reston founder) Bob Simon’s vision was all about attracting people and businesses by making a community that they could live in, work in, play in, and serve in,” Wilson said. “The people who built this community wanted to serve. This is about those same principles.”

This year’s recipients said they were both surprised and honored to be recognized for their community service.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Nancy Susco, one of this year’s recipients and the director of the surgical unit at Reston Hospital Center. “I’m overwhelmed to be included with all these great community citizens.”

Ellen Graves, another recipient and the founder of the Reston Multicultural Festival, said she hopes others in the community, particularly young people, will be inspired to become involved in service themselves.

“To maintain our quality of life, everyone has to make a contribution,” she said. “They need to get involved and stay involved.”

Reston in an unusual community, Graves said, because the spirit of community service is so prevalent.

“Service is a way of life here,” she said.

For many of the 2004 recipients, the award caps a lifetime of service to the community, said Cate Fulkerson, the Best of Reston dinner committee co-chair and an executive Reston Association official.

“They went beyond the norm in giving their time and resources to make Reston a better place to live,” Fulkerson said. “They worked selflessly, without thought of recognition.”

Longtime Reston volunteers and recipients of this year’s Best of Reston award, Dick and Janet Hays, said they were taken aback they were selected.

“It’s totally unanticipated and unexpected.” Dick Hays said.

“And thrilling,” Janet Hays added.