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Braddock Citizens Honored for Service

Public Service awards presented to community service oriented residents.

Outstanding community service did not go unnoticed at the 2006 Best of Braddock Awards. At the July 11 Braddock District Council of Community Associations' annual picnic, local residents were honored for going above and beyond to better the Braddock District.

Sponsored by the council and Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), the awards honored 12 residents and organizations known for their hard work and dedication to the community.

More than 115 people attended the ceremony, including U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11), State Sens. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (R-34) and Ken Cuccinelli (R-37), Dels. David Bulova (D-37) and Dave Marsden (D-41), School Board member Tessie Wilson (Braddock) and Board of Supervisors Chair Gerry Connolly (D-At-large). The awards ranged from person of the year to neighborhood enhancement or beautification.

Janyce Hedetniemi, chair of the Braddock District Council of Community Associations, said these awards provide recognition to extraordinary people who have exceeded community expectations.

“When people take the time to care about where they live and work, it’s incumbent upon groups such as the council to take the time to show that they appreciate them,” she said.

During the awards ceremony, Sharon Bulova stressed the importance of participating in the community.

“Good deeds are infectious,” she said. “When you do something to help the community, other people see it and it makes them want to give back.”

Hedetniemi reiterated Bulova’s statement and described service to the community as, “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Elaine Nolan, of Fairfax, attended Tuesday’s ceremony with her family because her husband nominated Carolyn Maleknasri, the director of special needs programs at Capital Gymnastics and the recipient of the Outstanding Business Person of the Year award.

Nolan said she was impressed with all of the achievements the award recipients had accomplished. The ceremony provided a means to thank the recipients for their hard work.

“These awards are important because it’s good to know that all these people who go above and beyond to make this community a great place to live are being recognized,” she said.

NINE AWARDS were given out during the ceremony, including a new award honoring the Young Person of the Year. That award was presented to Robinson Secondary graduates Sara Duffy and Christina Azimi. The award was meant to honor activities other than academics and athletics.

Duffy, who started an honor council at her high school and who was actively involved in various chorus groups, said as a recent graduate of Robinson, the award will act as a commemoration of her high school career.

“I’ll always remember this award because it will remind me of my community and what I did within my community,” she said. “Since my school is a big part of the community, it will remind me of my school as well.”

Hedetniemi said the new award was created because it is important to recognize the community’s youth and their impact on their environment.

“Before this award, we never had a means by which we could recognize their accomplishments,” she said. “Now they have something to show for their hard work.”

Bo Tumasz, recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award, said he was surprised and honored when he learned he had won the award. He received the award due to his work helping community youth and less fortunate as well as his dedication in making the Braddock district a better place.

“It’s nice to be appreciated,” he said. “After you retire, you do a lot of different things and this is a nice way to show that you are appreciated. It’s always good to get a pat on the back.”

Other award recipients include John McAnaw, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Daria Parnes of the Kings Park Library, who received the Most Can-do Public Employees Award; Bristow Village Homeowners Association, which received the Neighborhood beautification Award; Scott Brown of Shell Service Station at Cardinal Plaza, which received the Commercial Beautification Award; Canterbury Woods Swim and Tennis Club, which received the Organization Really Making a Difference Award; and John Converse, Helen Reinherr, Ivan Dietrich and Jessica Estrada-Palma, who received the Special Awards for Contributions to the Braddock Community Award.