Newcomers to the Burke community may be a bit nervous about encountering new faces. Sam DiBartolo, a former member of the Burke Centre Board of Trustees, has a suggestion for senior newcomers: join the Burke Centre 55ers. The group meets twice a month and offers a variety social opportunities to get to know your neighbors.
Number of years in the community: 24
Family (spouse, children and/or pets): Wife, son Tom and daughter-in-law Rachel, 2 grandsons — Sammy, 3, and Joshua, 6 months.
Education: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Missouri, School of Mines & Metallurgy, Rolla, Mo.
Your first job: Stromberg-Carlson Co., Rochester, N.Y.
Current job/primary occupation: Retired in 1991 from General Electric Company with 34 years service in the design of military, space (Apollo) and communications equipment, and worked as a field engineer at a nuclear power plant and performed earthquake damage assessment after the 1994 Northridge, Calif. earthquake.
Activities/interests/hobbies: Burke Centre representative on the Braddock District Council, Former Burke Centre Conservancy Trustee, Fairfax Senior Citizens Council, Burke Centre 55ers and Knights of Columbus.
Favorite local restaurant or place in the community: Villa Bella Restaurant.
What are your community concerns? Safety and traffic control in Burke Centre.
What are some ideas you have on ways to improve your community? I would like to see a disaster response and evacuation plan in case of a hazardous material spill on the railroad line or the Fairfax County Parkway.
What is the last book you read? The last movie you watched? I like to read non-fiction books and magazines, Smithsonian magazine, and travel magazines.
What brought you here? I was transferred here by G.E. to work on government programs.
What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? The highly talented and educated residents of this community really become apparent when you work with these people on the many volunteer committees and task forces. Our people are our greatest asset to the community.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? An engineer.
If you were able to take a road trip anywhere, where would you go? Blue Ridge Mountains
What are your personal goals? Do some volunteer work, be close to my grandchildren and work on my many hobbies.
What are some of the basics of the Burke 55ers? The Burke Centre 55ers have been in existence for 27 years. In 1979, the Burke Centre Conservancy decided to sponsor a senior club for those 55 and older. They worked with Fairfax County to get the club established. Helen Wainwright was the first president of the club. Over the years, we have had an average of about 80 members. We meet the first and third Mondays of the month at the Commons Community Center at 9:30 a.m. We begin with coffee and refreshments, then a short business meeting, followed by various speakers or entertainment.
How do you feel your organization benefits the community? The purpose of the Burke Centre 55ers shall be, that all meetings will be for the purpose of enjoying congenial company and community projects as needed. We donate to many charitable organizations. Along with meeting programs, we have luncheons and trips. The Burke Centre 55ers with the Burke Centre Conservancy each year sponsor a flu clinic. Last year there were 150 members of the community who participated in the clinic. The most valuable aspects of the club are the friendships that the members have made over the years, and the support they have given each other.
If they’re interested, how should people get involved? If you would like to join the 55ers, please call the Conservancy Office at 703-978-2928.