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Column: Generations To Be Honored

Senior Services of Alexandria to host Generation to Generation Gala.

Multiple generations of three Alexandria families will be honored at this year’s Senior Services of Alexandria’s gala for the leadership, energy, and talent they’ve contributed over the past seven decades to civic, charity, recreational and faith organizations.

This year’s honorees are Sanden Swanson and his daughter Lindsey Swanson, Kerry Donley and the Donley girls, and Nelson Greene, Sr., his son Nelson, and grand-daughter Nina. According to Janet Barnett, SSA’s executive director, this year’s honorees have been selected because “the parents set an example for their children to give back to the community through volunteering, advocacy and ensuring that each generation carries the torch for the next one.”

Senior Services of Alexandria’s annual Generation to Generation Gala will be held on Saturday, March 23, at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. The Jen Walker Team of McEnearney Associates is the presenting sponsor.

Sanden Swanson became dedicated to the Alexandria Soccer Association when all five of his children became active participants. He began by coaching and progressed to serving on the board of the Alexandria Soccer Association. During this time he convinced his children that it was great “bonding” time to get up and line the soccer fields with him before sunrise on the weekends. He also worked with the city staff to ensure that the fields were available and in the best possible condition for play.

He continues to pass on the importance of community and responsibility to his children by working side by side with Lindsey and Katey and the board of the Kelley Cares Foundation that serves the Therapeutic Recreation Program of Alexandria.

Following the passing of her sister Kelley, Lindsey Swanson followed in her father's civic-minded footsteps by helping the family establish the Kelley Cares Foundation in Kelley's honor. Lindsey has served as the director since its founding in 2006. Her leadership, along with the support from volunteers, sponsors, and the community, led to five Kelley Cares 5K Run/Walk events that benefitted the Therapeutic Recreation Program of Alexandria. These events have served as fundraisers for numerous projects including the Kelley Cares Miracle Field in November of 2012 (a public-private partnership with the Miracle League of Alexandria and the City of Alexandria), the roll-out of the Kelley Cares Multi-Sensory Mobile in January of 2012, the donation of four iPads to Therapeutic Recreation in December of 2011, the purchase of equipment and training for the Project Lifesaver program in 2008, and the equipment and installation costs for a multi-sensory room at the Lee Center in Alexandria in November of 2006.

Lindsey has also served as the vice-chair of the Miracle League of Alexandria, been a Planning District II representative with the Alexandria Parks & Recreation Commission, and served as a member of the Youth Policy Commission. She also served on the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Gala Committee, and has been the volunteer chair for Art on the Avenue for many years.

KERRY DONLEY served as an Alexandria City council member, mayor, and vice mayor over two decades. In the private sector, Donley is in the banking industry and he has served on numerous community and non-profit boards including First Night Alexandria, Carpenters Shelter, Hopkins House, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, and the Business Finance Group.

His three daughters, Colleen, Kaitlin, and Kristin are also being honored.

Colleen Donley is pursuing a career working with children with disabilities following completion of her doctor of physical therapy program at George Washington University. Her passion is focused on health promotion and prevention services for children, especially those with disabilities and living in under-served areas. She gives her energy and time to Girls on the Run, teaching religious education to second graders at Blessed Sacrament Church, and coaching girls’ youth field hockey in the summer.

Kristin (Donley) Dundon is active with programs that benefit children and children’s health. She has a long history of serving the community as a coach and volunteer of girls’ youth field hockey teams, volunteering with Girls on the Run, and lending a hand at health fairs at middle and elementary schools. She also helped write health curriculum for ACPS students. She also contributes her time to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation and serves on two boards at Children’s National Medical Center as a parent representative. One of those boards is a nationwide board and the other is for the hematology oncology unit. She speaks at events on behalf of the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, INOVA Blood Donors, pediatric cancer awareness, and pediatric brain tumor awareness.

Kaitlin Donley has devoted time in the recent past as a volunteer income tax preparer. Some of her other service endeavors include volunteering with Greater DC Cares at Foggy Bottom Food Pantry and Ronald McDonald House. While in law school she spent her winter breaks on service trips to New Orleans working with the Student Hurricane Network which helped rebuild and revitalize communities in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

THREE GENERATIONS of the Greene Family are being honored this year: Nelson E. Greene Sr., his son Nelson E. Greene Jr., and his grand-daughter Nina Greene. All three are active members of Meade Episcopal Church. Greene, Sr. is the founder and current president of the Greene Funeral home in Alexandria. His hard work and dedication for more than 50 years helped the funeral home become what it is today. He was a member of the City Council and of a number of philanthropic organizations including the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia, F. &A.M. Inc., the Secret Seven, the Departmental Progressive Club of Alexandria, the American Legion William Post #124, and the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. At Meade Episcopal Church, he has served in the past as Junior and Senior Warden, and on the Steering Committee for the new building. He has also been a member of Omega Psi Phi since 1938.

Nelson E. Greene, Jr. has worked in the family’s funeral home his entire adult life except for the three years he spent in the military. He is currently the vice president and manager of the funeral home. He is also a founding member of the Northern Virginia District of Virginia Morticians Association. In Alexandria, he served three terms on the Alexandria City School Board and is active with Meade Episcopal Church, where he currently serves as Junior Warden and Lay Eucharistic Minister. He has served as Junior Warden seven other times, and as Senior Warden three times. Like his father, he is a member of Omega Psi Phi, and has been since 1974.

Early in Nina Greene’s life, she spent a lot of time with her grandfather and she credits him with teaching her that service to the community is a way of life. Although she initially pursued a career in the healthcare industry and was an EMT, a CPR instructor, and an occupational health administrator she recently decided to complete her funeral service education. She has more than 20 years of experience working in the family business and currently provides administrative support at the funeral home where she is instrumental in helping families with memorial tributes. She also devotes much her time to Meade Episcopal Church where she is a lifelong member. At Meade Episcopal she is a Lay Eucharistic Minister and has been active in the Gospel Truth Choir, the Outreach Committee, and serves as Youth Group chaperone. Previously, she served on the Vestry and chaired the stewardship Committee. She is also a member of the Women's Ecumenical Choir of Ebenezer Baptist Church and the International Order of the Daughters of the King. She also volunteers with the Alexandria YMCA, the Avon Breast Cancer Walk and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The Generation to Generation Gala, while honoring these families, will also support the work of Senior Services of Alexandria. To purchase tickets, call 703-836-4414, ext. 10 or online at www.seniorservicesalex.org.