Residents at Herndon Harbor House, an independent living complex for seniors, listen as Pradip Dhakal, Town of Herndon Candidate for Councilmember, explains his goals for 2021-2022.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Seniors at Herndon Harbor House in the Town of Herndon pursue active lifestyles even though they have quarantined since March, according to resident Janice Watson. She arrived in Herndon from Clark County two years ago. "It makes me smile to see those of us who are currently retired and have very little family around and not the friends that we used to have, define new meaning in life. (We) realize that our lifetime of experiences can still be utilized for the good of our fellow citizens and our new Town. This is now our village. These are now our new friends. We need to put down roots, no matter how long we are going to be here," she said.
Still, Watson, her friend Alexander Burke and others said it had been challenging with COVID-19 for them and other residents to figure out what they can do. "And not worry about what we cannot. This is our new norm," said Watson. Ever cautious of the virus and taking mask and social distance precautions, the complex has reported no cases of the virus, according to Watson.
With the weather being nice, residents began to gather in the enclosed courtyard open to the sky. "We social distance on Friday nights and listen to music... We have a nice breeze in the evening from six to seven. Even though most of us don't work nine to five anymore, Friday is still a special night to be social," Watson said. Burke added," We are growing in number. People are socializing more...It is very important to me. I love participating in kind acts and helping people."
Asked why she goes to the Friday night gatherings, Kay Wells, a former Marine who walks three to five miles on the trail each day, said, "I go because I love being around people. I'm a people person and music is always good to hear." Wells said she moved to Herndon Harbor House three years ago from Alexandria. "I love it here. Everyone is so friendly. With the virus and all, I ask God every day to protect my Herndon Harbor House family," she said.
A natural leader and a retired reporter of the Clark Daily News, Watson said she learned the Town of Herndon was having Mayor and Town Council elections in November. When she and others did not recognize the names of the new candidates, they took action. Watson said, "We decided to invite these politicians to tell us who they were and let them see who we were. Some had never been to Herndon Harbor House."
On Friday, Aug. 14, four candidates arrived in the courtyard. Each gave a three to five-minute presentation focusing on their goals and topics of interest to the residents. "It was a win-win ...because they got to find out what our issues were, and we got to meet them face to face," said Watson.
Clark Hedrick – Review zoning that doesn't overtly discriminate but does discriminate.
Sean Regan – Stop Loudoun County residents from cutting through the Town.
Cesar del Aguila – Investigate walkable communities; affordable housing is critical.
Pradip Dhakal – Live broadcast Town Council work sessions so residents can see the process; ADA compliant (sidewalks).