Giving a little back to the people who give their time and resources to the City of Fairfax, the Interservice Club Council (ISCC) presented its Volunteers of the Year awards on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
"What I continue to be impressed by are the contributions people make to the community year after year after year," said L. D. "Larry" Larson, president of the ISCC and member of the Harley Owners Group. "It comes from the heart. These people really give an awful lot to their community."
About 90 people were in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony, the largest crowd ever, said Larson. Eighteen people received Volunteer of the Year awards from their organizations.
"This is a great event because it focuses on the volunteers who do so much for the community," said former Fairfax City mayor John Mason, who is currently running as a Republican in the 37th District delegate race. "When I was mayor, I said that there are some things volunteers do better than the government. Volunteers have a better people-to-people relationship than bureaucracies do."
Larson agreed. "If we didn’t have organizations, a lot of things wouldn’t happen in the community," he said. "They didn’t start volunteering so they would be recognized."
Charles Hinojosa, who received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Fairfax Harley Owners Group (HOG), said that if he weren’t at the award ceremony, he’d be on his 1999 Road King Classic. He had just got back from a nine-day, 1,009-mile bike trip to Niagara Falls in time for the ceremony.
"He’s been a Fairfax HOG member and biker for almost six years, but he looks like a regular person tonight," said Mo Smith, introducing Hinojosa. "Behind the scenes, we could always count on Charles to be there."
Hinojosa helped Fairfax HOG grow from 400 to 750 members, said Smith, and "worked tirelessly" as a mentor to new members and as road captain, making sure that bikers rode safely on group trips.
Hinojosa, who retired two years ago from teaching English as a second language at the Dranesville Methodist Church, now volunteers his time at Inova Fairfax Hospital and helps store artifacts left at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial.
"I’m certainly very honored," said Hinojosa. "I just love doing this. I just love all the work I do."
Ronald Beavers, awarded Volunteer of the Year by the Friends of Fairfax Station, is a sixth-generation Virginian and a third-generation Alexandrian whose love of history "developed into a full-blown hobby," said Joan Rogers, president of the Friends of Fairfax Station.
"Take a look at the SOL scores in Virginia. Pick any grade," said Beavers. "The lowest score is in history ... history is important, we really need to know it."
Beavers volunteers at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum and is an active speaker about Civil War railroads. He is a Civil War reenactor with the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment, where he portrays a civilian railroad superintendent.
Beavers also gives presentations at schools dressed in his 19th-century gear, hoping to give children a hands-on view of history.
"I try to make history exciting for children and adults in this country," said Beavers, whose wife and daughter also reenact. "I want to get them to the point where they’re asking a lot of questions."
Other ISCC Volunteer of the Year winners:
W. Gregg Modesitt, a certified public accountant, received an award from the Chocolate Lovers Festival for his service in helping plan the annual event. Modesitt also volunteers with special needs children.
BARBARA SHEA, an attorney and native of Northern Virginia, was nominated Volunteer of the Year by the Fairfax Ferns Garden Club. As part of her work with Fairfax Ferns, Shea arranged 15 table arrangements for cancer patients.
Donald Ray Ballard was awarded by the Fairfax Host Lions Club for leading fund-raising efforts and coming up with the vehicle donation program. He also received the Lion of the Year award from the Lions Club.
Patricia T. Barber received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Friends of the Fairfax City Regional Library for her work teaching people to use the Internet every Saturday. Barber is a librarian at the Library of Congress.
Dolores Testerman, retired from the county circuit court, was awarded Volunteer of the Year by Historic Fairfax City, Inc. Testerman volunteers her time at the Fall Festival, Ratcliffe-Allison House, and the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center.
Larson received an award from the Interservice Club Council for his work as the ISCC president. Larson, who is retired from the Exxon-Mobil Corporation, also works in stream restoration with Trout Unlimited and the Department of Game and Fish.
Malcom Mercer was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax. He has served as president, treasurer, and auditor for the club, and also volunteers with the Fairfax Presbyterian Church and For Immediate Sympathetic Help (FISH).
Bob Sherman received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Noonday Optimist Club. He serves snow cones with the club and also helps out at Inova Fairfax Hospital. "It’s a chance to work with kids and youth, and to help them with what they want to do," said Sherman.
Walker and Selma Smith won an award for their extensive service to the Northern Virginia Training Center (NVTC), a training center for the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled. The Walkers serve on several different boards and committees and head up a garden in memory of their son, David, who used to live at the NVTC.
Anthony J. DiGregorio, who served in the U.S. Army for 28 years, received an award for his help raising funds for the Optimist Club of Central Fairfax.
Donn P. Kegel was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the Rotary Club of Fairfax. He is currently treasurer of the club, and helped organize a Christmas party for homeless children. Kegel is retired from the U.S. Air Force.
Connie Lauther won two Volunteer of the Year awards, from the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and from the Woman’s Club of Fairfax. Lauther, a real estate broker, is the correspondence secretary for the Salvation Army and has chaired their silent auction and fashion show. She is also secretary for the Woman’s Club.
Cynthia Demetrios and Barbara Pavon won a Volunteer of the Year award from the Zontas Club of Fairfax. Demetrios has been part of the club for 15 years, and Pavon is a new member.