Judy Heisinger of Centreville's Bull Run Estates is the newest recipient of the James D. McDonnell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Service.
PRESENTED Tuesday night by the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA), it's given in memory of McDonnell, who died seven years ago of bone cancer at age 50 and worked tirelessly as WFCCA president and Land-Use Committee chairman for many years.
"This award is way overdue because it's for 2003," said current WFCCA President Ted Troscianecki. "But [even more so] because Judy has contributed so much to the community for a very long time and she is finally being formally recognized."
He said that, as longtime president of the Bull Run Civic Association, "she vigorously represents her community's interests — which typically translates to what's best for all of Western Fairfax County." And besides her contributions to the WFCCA and its Land-Use Committee over many years, she's been active in the Sully District Council, the Occoquan Millennium Task Force and countless citizens advisory boards — including the one for the Battlefield Bypass.
In 2003, Heisinger became chairman of WFCCA's Transportation Committee. "It's a role formerly held by the late Dick Frank ... with very large shoes to fill," said Troscianecki. "And she's injected new energy into it at a time when transportation issues continue to grow and worsen."
POINTING OUT her positive attitude, demeanor and infectious energy, he called her an inspiration to those around her and presented her with a plaque. Her name will also be inscribed on a plaque listing McDonnell Award winners.
Former Land-Use chairman Jim Hart, now a county planning commissioner, said both McDonnell and the late Rick Korick — another longtime WFCCA member — would agree on Heisinger's selection. Even after his cancer diagnosis, said Hart, "McDonnell kept going until the end, working on land-use issues without complaint. He was the embodiment of unselfish commitment to community service, without regard for personal gain, and Judy certainly exemplifies that."
Hart noted many of the issues affecting her community that she's been right in the thick of, including the Tri-County Parkway, the SYA Fields of Dreams, the Buddhist temple on Bull Run Drive, expansions of Luck Stone Quarry and the Manassas National Battlefield Park, the truck ban and traffic accidents on Bull Run Post Office Road, Loudoun County development affecting her neighborhood — and even a deer that died in her yard.
"SHE'S AN excellent motivator," said Hart. "The first meeting of the Bull Bun Civic Association that I attended, I couldn't believe how many people were there. She has spent thousands of hours in meetings and public hearings, working for the community."
He said Heisinger never misses a meeting or workshop and is truly a credit to her community. "When the stoplight finally goes in at Bull Run Post Office Road and Route 29, we'll have her to thank," he said. "She's sincere and means what she says, and we need more folks like her."
Heisinger and her husband Duane will celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary on Feb. 2. They have three married daughters and 10 grandchildren. Proud of his wife and all she does, he said, "Judy's a wonderful person who loves people and loves working with them. She gets great joy out of helping people in areas of their need or interest."
After receiving her award, Heisinger expressed her appreciation, saying, "I feel very strongly about our community, and it's a pleasure to represent it." Then she sat back down on the panel and continued working at the WFCCA's land-use meeting.