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Tokens of Thanks

Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce honors local individuals and businesses.

When Vienna resident Linda Lammersen received a phone call about the 2004 Citizen of the Year Award from the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce (VTRCC), she thought the committee was asking for her suggestions on who should receive the award. She hadn't realized that she was being named the award winner.

During the July 8 awards luncheon at the Tysons Corner Marriott, Lammersen related her surprise at the honor, telling the audience that it was her mother who inspired Lammersen in her work with area youth and the Vienna Teen Foundation.

"[My mother] was always very willing to give of herself," Lammersen said, calling her a mentor. "I have tried to pattern my volunteer efforts with keeping that in mind."

Lammersen was one of seven individuals and businesses recognized for their contributions to the community during the annual Service Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The awardees are Debbie Earman of Long & Foster Realtors, 2004 Business Person of the Year; The Vienna Inn, Marty Volk, owner, 2004 Business of the Year; Malcolm Riddle of Premier Wine Cellars, 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year; Linda Lammersen, 2004 Citizen of the Year; The Women's Center, Cynthia Huheey, executive director, 2004 Nonprofit of the Year; T.R. Cook of Cook's Photo-Art Studio, 2004 Lifetime Service Award; and Jerry Magri of Magri & Associates, 2004 Chairman's Award.

Debbie Earman, Long & Foster Realtors

Business Person of the Year

As someone who has lived in Vienna since 1960 and has been involved with the community since then, Debbie Earman said it touched her to receive the award.

"It's kind of neat to get an award in a town you really care about," said Earman, who has been involved with the Chamber for 16 years.

For the past 25 years, Earman has worked with Long & Foster Realtors, where she is a lifetime Top Producer. Earman also works with two of her daughters, who joined the real estate firm in 2002.

Within the community, Earman and her husband were involved in the Vienna softball's Pigtail Ponytail League for 17 years, helping to bring three teams to the national competition. She has also been involved in area festivals as a fund-raising volunteer or as an extra set of hands for a Halloween Parade float creation. Earman was a board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) from 1996-2000 and is currently the Chamber's senior vice president of fund-raising.

The Vienna Inn, Marty Volk, owner

Business of the Year

Open since 1960, the Vienna Inn on 120 Maple Ave. E., has been known among locals for its chili dogs and casual atmosphere. Mollie and Meyer "Mike" Abraham, and later their son Phillip, ran the Vienna Inn until May 2000, when the Abrahams sold it to Dave "Marty" Volk.

Volk, who couldn't attend the awards luncheon, wrote a letter thanking the Chamber for the award. Read by his lifelong neighbor and friend Billy Thompson, the letter pointed to the Abrahams' dedicated work ethic as the cause of the Inn's success.

"Mike Abraham is such a huge influence of what his work ethic was," agreed Thompson, who added that both he and Volk remembered how Mike Abraham would sweep the floors of the Inn even though he owned the establishment.

Malcolm Riddle, Premier Wine Cellars

Entrepreneur of the Year

After working in the wine industry for almost a decade, Malcolm Riddle founded Premier Wine Cellars in February 2002 with the intent of presenting fine wines from around the world to his clients and businesses. In addition to that service and to regular wine tastings that Premier Wine Cellars sponsors, the company started a Custom Wine Cellar Program in 2004, which aids clients in starting their own home wine cellars.

"To be considered has really touched me and my family," said Riddle of his award.

Linda Lammersen

Citizen of the Year

Linda Lammersen's vision helped create many of the youth activities present in Vienna today: the All-Night Graduation Parties, the After-Prom Breakfasts and Ethics Day at Madison High School. For the past 35 years, Lammersen has volunteered in PTAs, Booster Clubs and youth athletics in order to create safe environments for area youth. In December 1997, Lammersen was the founding president for the Vienna Teen Foundation, in which she led a group of volunteers to establish a teen center at the Vienna Community Center. That teen center, Club Phoenix, opened its doors in September 1999.

A founding member of the Vienna-Madison Community Coalition, Lammersen has also previously served on the Board of Directors for the Madison Booster Club, Partnership for Youth, Vienna Baseball Foundation, Barrios Unidos and the Vienna Teen Foundation. Lammersen continued her work with issues by being a player in the development of the Support on Suspension (SOS) Program, which aids students suspended from school with academic and social counseling.

The Women's Center

Nonprofit of the Year

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, The Women's Center in Vienna provides counseling and educational resources to women and families of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. In 2003, the Center served more than 5,700 clients in 50,210 hours of psychological, career, financial and legal services to their clients around the metropolitan region. Sixty-four percent of the hours, or 32,293 hours, were provided at low or no costs. The Center also conducted 115 life-skills training workshops and referred 25,138 individuals to local community resources.

The Center conducts a renowned leadership conference every March, which provides networking opportunities for women and features prominent speakers and women respected in their fields.

In accepting the award, Executive Director Cynthia Huheey thanked all the other area nonprofits in their mutual efforts to better the community.

"It's only by us working together that those needing help can be helped," Huheey said.

T.R. Cook, Cook's Photo-Art Studio

Lifetime Service Award

Throughout the years, ever since he became a member in 1966, T.R. Cook has been involved with Chamber activities. He is the resident photographer for Chamber-sponsored events, and he is a past chairman of the Chamber board.

Within the community, Cook is a longtime member of the Optimist Club, serving in leadership positions at the club's local, area and international levels. Cook is a Vienna Police Auxiliary charter member and chairman of the Area Action Council for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Northern Virginia. He also served five years as member of the Virginia Council of the Arts, and was vice chairman of that committee for a year. As a photographer, Cook has also provided his services to area groups such as the Madison High School all-night graduation party, the American Legion and state and local political candidates.

"It's really humbling and really an honor to be associated with all the awardees today," Cook said. "Without your referrals, without your business, we wouldn't be here."

Jerry Magri, Magri & Associates

Chairman's Award

Jerry Magri formed Magri & Associates in December 1989, after working in the financial planning business and the federal government. He has served the Chamber since 1992 in various capacities, including as director of membership development, where he helped established the annual Sip 'n' Sample membership event. His other activities include involvement in the Society of Financial Services Professionals, the American Marketing Association and a college scholarship fund.