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Carol Hawn Receives McDonnell Citizenship Award

If "Volunteer" isn't Carol Hawn's middle name, it certainly could be. Active in the local community for more than a decade, she was honored Monday night as the latest recipient of the Jim McDonnell Award for Outstanding Citizenship.

NOTING THE importance of citizen participation, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) presented it to her at the quarterly meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA).

"Jim McDonnell was truly a special person," said Frey. "He was an early member of the WFCCA and chaired its land-use committee, and he was always involved in the community." Listing some of the many local and countywide boards and committees on which Hawn has served, Frey said, "This year's honoree is very deserving. Carol Hawn has given to so many areas of the community that needed help."

A Virginia Run resident, McDonnell died of bone cancer in January 1998 at age 50. But his accomplishments were many. "Jim tried to educate the community about the development process and inspire the land-use community to higher standards of development," said at-Large Planning Commissioner Jim Hart. "He gave of himself unselfishly to the community."

To continue McDonnell's "legacy, spirit and dedication to community service," the WFCCA created an award in his memory. And Hart said Hawn, of Centreville's Old Mill community, certainly exemplifies the ideals McDonnell cherished.

"Carol Hawn is certainly the poster child for volunteerism, and we're fortunate to have someone like her," said Hart. "She's been secretary to the WFCCA and its land-use committee for more than 10 years, is on its executive board and has put out its newsletter since day one."

He said Hawn "volunteers for every special project," makes site visits regarding land-use cases being reviewed, goes to Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings to speak on WFCCA's behalf and "has been appointed by both Democrats and Republicans" to a variety of boards and task forces.

"She's the Sully District and At-Large representative on the Airports Advisory Committee and chaired the Census 2000 Complete-Count Committee for Fairfax County," said Hart. "And she's been an officer and member of the Sully District Council of Citizens Associations and the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations."

Hawn has prepared Voter's Guides for the League of Women Voters and served on Area Plans Review task forces and on bond referendum citizens committees. And in recognition of all her hard work, in May 2000, Frey named her Lady Fairfax.

ACCEPTING Monday's award, Hawn said, "I am truly overwhelmed and shocked." She said she couldn't have done anything without her husband Dave's love and support. And, she added, "I do it because I care about the community."

She and McDonnell differed politically, but united on one, particular land-use issue. "Jim told me, 'You have convictions, you're doing the right thing and it's OK,'" said Hawn. "And when he wrote a [long-ago] letter to Centre View praising me, he told me it was the first time he'd ever written a letter saying good things about a Democrat."