‘Heart of Alexandria’

‘Heart of Alexandria’

Local volunteers to be recognized Oct. 19.


Julie Jakopic


Eleanor Lindeman


Donna Reuss


Denise Mackie-Smith

Volunteer Alexandria will hold its 23rd Annual Volunteers Are The Heart of Alexandria ceremony Oct. 19 to recognize individuals in the community for their dedication and service to the City of Alexandria.

“These awards shine a well-deserved light on those who give of themselves and their time in service to the community and others,” said David Chamowitz, president of Volunteer Alexandria, in announcing the awards.

The 2017 honorees include: Julie Jakopic, President of iLead Strategies, who will receive the Marian Van Landingham Award; Eleanor Lindeman and Donna Reuss will receive the Grass Roots Volunteer Service Award; members of the Bryce Project will receive the Youth Volunteer Service Award; and Denise Mackie-Smith will receive the RSVP Northern Virginia Service Award.

“Julie, Donna, Eleanor, Denise, and the teenagers from the Bryce Project have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” said Marion Brunken, executive director of Volunteer Alexandria. “These awards are being given in appreciation of their hard work and dedication to organizations within Alexandria.”

Julie Jakopic, recipient of the 2017 Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award, has dedicated much of her life to helping improve the lives of Alexandria residents. For 25 years, she has been a standout volunteer committed to the city’s low income, women and special needs citizens. She has served as chair of the Alexandria Community Services Board, Sheltered Homes of Alexandria, the Alexandria Economic Opportunity Commission and is on the board of trustees of Hopkins House.

Eleanor Lindeman, recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award, is a former teacher at T.C. William High School who currently serves as a volunteer at Inova Alexandria Hospital. While at Inova, Lindeman helped design a year-long pilot program that encouraged nurses to use volunteers to enhance the experience of the sick and needy via tightly focused non-clinical support.

Donna Reuss, recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award, has been involved in many community efforts, including emergency preparedness work through the American Legion Post 24, where she serves on the Executive Board. Additional volunteer work includes: Meals on Wheels, West Old Town Citizens Association, Saint Joseph Catholic Church and Habitat for Humanity. Reuss also provides volunteer yoga instruction, primarily to Alexandria seniors.

Denise Mackie-Smith, recipient of the 2017 RSVP Northern Virginia Service Award, is a volunteer who has supported the RSVP program by putting her administrative skills to work. Additionally, she serves on the Alexandria Commission on Aging to ensure residents aged 55+ are being served. Mackie-Smith’s interests include assisting people in need of a job and finding housing.

The Bryce Project, recipient of the 2017 Youth Volunteer Service Award, is designed to cultivate community service and kindness among Alexandria’s teenagers. Since its founding in 2012, participants have accumulated more than 4,000 hours of service, partnering with organizations such as Lost Dog Rescue, Woodbine Rehabilitation Center, So Others Might Eat and Inova Alexandria Hospital. Many of the group’s teens have planned and implemented weekly lessons for nearly 200 elementary school students. One standout example includes Ameena, who was subsequently elected to participate on the Alexandria Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission.

The awards ceremony will take place Oct. 19 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 6-8 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit www.volunteeralexandria.org.