Centreville The Fair Lakes Forest community of Centreville, held a Community Day on June 9 — a culmination of 10 months of planning and work by the board and community volunteers. Last September, the community had lost one of its neighbors, Tim Lyons, to lung cancer when Patricia Tolbert heard about Fairfax County’s Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program which provides grants to “enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods by supporting projects and initiatives that assist in achieving the county’s vision elements.”
It had been many years since this community had gathered together around a community activity which was just the type of thing Lyons had done frequently when their children were growing up. It inspired the community to request a grant to build a brick patio, hold a Community Day, and repair the trails throughout the community.
Kevin Gaughn, scoutmaster of Troop 146 recommended the patio be built as Josh Bitto’s Eagle Scout project, a scout from Troop 146 of St. Timothy’s Parish in Chantilly and family friend of the Lyons.
Ken Riley, assistant scoutmaster, neighbor, and a good friend of Lyons, volunteered to assist Josh. Recognizing all the community members who had lost loved ones to cancer and other illness, a brick fundraiser was held to raise money for Capital Caring Hospice. Any past or present homeowner could purchase a brick with the family name and year they moved into the community engraved on it with proceeds going to Hospice. A community day shirt, designed by Elise Kinsey, a neighborhood student at Chantilly High School, was also sold to raise money for Hospice.
So after all that planning and work it was time for the community to come together and celebrate. The day began with the dedication of the patio where the Lyons’ family cut the ribbon to unveil the new patio, and Tolbert presented Sally Mallison and Kelli Horton from Capital Caring Hospice with a check for $1,800 from the fund raising activities.
Following the dedication ceremony, the community donned gloves and trash bags to pick up trash along the trails and the run-off basin in the area. After, everyone returned to Portage Place for some pizza, music, games, Zumba and more. It also happened to be scout Josh’s 18th birthday that day so a cake and singing were in order. As a treat, Fire Station 17 from the Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department sent a truck over for the community to tour, ask questions and take pictures. The party continued into the evening as people played, danced or just visited with people they hadn’t seen for a while. Tilly Blanding, a representative from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services who attended the event, summed it up: “What an absolutely great community event. You make yourselves proud. See what a neighborhood/community group can do when they put their heads and heart together. I enjoyed my time with you on last Saturday and look forward to other great things from you in the future.”