Maybe they don’t wear capes and flashy uniforms, but local volunteers are superheroes.
That was the theme for the 22nd Annual Fairfax County Service Awards, where more than 100 volunteers were recognized for their work with breakfast Friday, April 25, at The Waterford in Springfield.
More specifically, this year’s theme was "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact," which was reflected in the comic book-inspired table decor and introductions by master of ceremonies Jeff Goldberg, Virginia Bureau Chief for ABC7 and News Channel 8.
"You make this a better place to play, to live and to work," said Volunteer Fairfax Executive Director Jeanne Sanders. "Every year, this is the most humbling event."
In addition to the 16 competitive awards, the organization recognized volunteers who contributed more than 100 volunteer hours. According to a fact sheet, seven individuals clocked between 100 and 249 hours, 25 contributed 250 to 499 hours, six made between 500 and 999 hours and three clocked in more than 1,000 hours last year.
In all, 164 people nominated for awards donated more than 122,500 hours outside of their work and school hours.
Winners of the competitive awards were:
Patti Schule - Adult volunteer under 250 hours
Ashleigh Soloff - Adult volunteer over 250 hours
Friends of Richard Byrd Library - Adult volunteer group
Doris Crawford - Senior volunteer
Food for Others - Volunteer program
Jonah Basl - Youth volunteer
Cherry Blossom chapter of the National Charity League - Youth Volunteer Group
Ana and Kat Hayes - Family volunteer
Roberto Quinones - Integrate individual
St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church - Integrate group
John Bauer - Fairfax County volunteer
Ready to Read Volunteer Program - Fairfax County Volunteer Program
BB&T - Corporate Volunteer Program
Sharon Page - RSVP Northern Virginia Award
Nicholas Hartigan - Rising star
Ramona Watson Morrow - Lifetime achievement
"Upon hearing my name announced as the award winner, I was shocked and still trying to process that announcement, when the award was handed to me on stage," said Page, of Herndon. "When you volunteer, you never think about being recognized in such a big way for the help you give to people."
She is the senior co- coordinator for the Hogar Immigrant Services English as a Second Language program at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Parish in Herndon.
Hartigan was also surprised to have won an award — the Rising Star award. As the founder of Reston Young Professionals, he provides young Restonians the opportunity to volunteer in their community. He was nominated by Reston Historic Trust board member Lynn Lillenthal.
"I thought it was kind of cool," he said. "I do a lot in the community and it’s nice to be recognized once in a while."
He said several people spoke to him at the end of the ceremony with hopes to connect with his group.
Schule, of Herndon, said she began volunteering once a week at the Cornerstones Hypothermia program with his Floris United Methodist Church group serving meals. Five years later, she volunteers about 25 hours a month to the program.
"It was quite an honor, and I’m inspired to work even more with Cornerstones," she said.