To the Editor:
At this time of year, in late May, when the forsythia, azaleas and native dogwoods have sequentially lost their spring blooms, and I drive through our community of Great Falls, I see the magnificent Kousa Dogwood trees still bedecked in their white robes. The native flowers pass the torch to the Kousa in late May, which bloom through Memorial Day on into early summer. Just look around town and you will know them.
I am reminded when I see the Kousa’s, this time of year, of George Summers, the long-time resident of Millwood Road in Great Falls, who personally inspired the planting of all these examples of nature’s creative character. George had an abiding appreciation for nature, local history, and preservation. George was one of the founders of the Great Falls Citizen’s Association in 1968, when it was charted in response to a recommendation from our then County Supervisor, Harriet Bradley, as a means to help preserve as much as possible of the rural character of Great Falls, including large lot developments and parkland, during the transition period to what Great Falls is now, a small town, one tenth of Fairfax County.
When George left us for the next world about 10 years ago, he also passed the torch to us as the Kousa Dogwoods, to carry on his love for our community and his dedication to preserving its character, as a small town surrounded by nature.
He was no shrinking violet himself, but a stalwart and blessed curmudgeon, who frequently spoke up strongly in Community meetings about a point of order, or failed logic of another speaker, or a proposed development that did not seem appropriate. He wrote numerous letters to the editor critical of local politicians and community leaders not supportive of local Great Falls prerogatives, as he saw them. He was a strong proponent of our individual freedoms.
He penned the local document providing guidelines for commercial development in Great Falls in 1976, which formed a basis for the community type of commercial centers then being started here. He was one of my heroes here in the early 1970s. We should be inspired by his example, and each recognize our duty, to plant a stake in the ground, and a seed or two, along the way, volunteer our talents, to make Great Falls a better place to live, work and play with our kids. There is still a lot to do.