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RA Honors Volunteers

Award recipients highlight annual meeting.

As is true with most organizations in Reston’s alphabet soup, the Reston Association relies on its volunteers for its day-to-day operations. At its annual meeting last week on Tuesday night, RA honored its top volunteers of the year.

"Volunteers are our most precious resource," said Jennifer Blackwell, president of the RA board of directors. Richard Newlon, chair of RA’s design review board and Charles Brunner, chair of RA’s covenants committee, earned the honors of the top two volunteers of the year.

"Reston is getting ready to go through a lot of change," said Newlon. "Hopefully we’ll be able to preserve the essence of Reston as we have since its beginning."

Brunner spoke of the horrors the members of the covenants committee face at times. "The complaints I’ve heard," he said, shaking his head. A man carrying an axe once confronted members of the committee in RA’s parking lot. While the situation was scary, no one was hurt. In another incident, a couple demanded to know who complained to the committee about them, but the information was withheld from that couple, because the committee allows anonymous complaints.

BLACKWELL ALSO PRESENTED Sprint-Nextel, a Reston-based communications company, with a business partnership award. "On behalf of 4,500 employees here in Reston, thank you for this honor," said Alex Hahn, the company’s community relations manager. "We’re very excited to be a part of Reston."

Two other volunteers, departing members of the board of directors, were honored, too. Doug Bushée said he volunteered the last six years because of a passion he has to serve the community. However, he said: "I am really looking forward to getting back to my wife and my kids."

Rick Beyer, unable to attend the meeting, devoted the last three years to the board, and served as its president during the successful headquarters referendum. "Doug and Rick’s commitment to the community has been steadfast and invaluable," said Blackwell.

Joe Leighton, Frank Lynch, Robin Smyers and Cheryl Beamer were recognized as the winners of the RA board of directors election.

A number of local politicians also attended the meeting, and they thanked RA volunteers for their commitment to the community. "RA is all about community," said state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32). She said in the last year she only had one complaint directed to her, and that is a good measure of how well RA represents Restonians on the local issues. Howell thanked Bushée and Beyer for their service to the community, and added: "We need new leadership, new blood and this community does seem to do that."