Lee District Association of Civic Organizations celebrated its 50th Anniversary Dec. 13 with a crowd of well-wishers packing the ballroom of the Springfield Hilton.
The celebration also marked a tribute to the life of a long-time supporter of Lee District activism.
Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-36) and Dels. Kristen J. Amundson (D-44) and Mark D. Sickles (D-43) honored the life of the late Robert J. "Bob" Heittman. They read a resolution passed by the Virginia General Assembly honoring Heittman for his work in the area of transportation.
It was presented to his widow Elaine Heittman, who attended with her son Robert Sean "Rob" Heittman and daughter-in-law Alison.
During last year's banquet, the Virginia Department of Transportation honored Heittman by naming the 100-foot-high, mile-long I-95 south flyover bridge of the Springfield Interchange Project for him.
Heittman served as chair of the Lee District Land Use and Transportation Advisory Committee and was known as an ombudsman for citizens impacted by transportation and development issues. Among his civic endeavors were co-founding the Franconia Museum and membership in the Fairfax County History Commission.
THE EVENT also focused on the presentation of the Les Dorson Distinguished Public Service Leadership Award, Public Service Professional Award and Citizenship Award. Each of these awards is presented annually to outstanding members of Fairfax County staff as well as to dedicated citizens who have served Fairfax County and Lee District.
Recipients of this years honors were: Edward R. Batten Sr., Distinguished Public Service Leadership Award; Sousan Frankenberger, Distinguished Public Service Professional Award; and Sue Patterson and Robert Gray, Lee District Citizenship Award.
Presenting the awards were Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee), Lee District Association Chairman Joe Johnson, association First Vice Chair Paul Gagnon, association Second Vice Chair Jane Hilder and Roy Rice. The awards are made each year in memory of the association's former vice chairman, Les Dorson.
As the recipient of the Dorson Public Service Award, Batten was recognized for his three years of service on the Fairfax County Park Authority. In that capacity he has served on the Planning and Development, Park Services, and Resource Management committees.
The award recognized Batten's contributions in day-to-day park operations, but also in Lee District Land Use and Transportation Advisory Committee issues.
Frankenberger, who received the Dorson Public Service Professional Award, was recognized for her dedicated service, creativity and drive to make music and outdoor recreation available to all residents.
Beginning with "Arts in the Park," Frankenberger expanded the program to an entire summertime outdoor concert series in parks countywide.
Frankenberger now manages six summer outdoor concerts with over 200 performances at 15 county park sites. She also initiated and administers a summer camp program for children from the county homeless shelters, raising over $100,000. She developed and manages a Park Volunteer program of 800 volunteers.
Patterson and Gray were each presented the Lee District Citizenship Award for their activities in land use and transportation. Patterson took on additional community activities with service on the County Waste Management and History commissions. She also helped co-found the Franconia Museum.
Gray is an active community leader, who is particularly active in the Springfield area. It was also noted in the citation he received that Gray has been an effective voice for Springfield on the Lee District Land Use and Transportation Advisory Committee.