As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across her Town of Herndon, Rotarian Signe Friedrichs masked up and gathered up other masked service volunteers, business leaders, and nonprofit leaders. Together they collaborated to make their little town’s 4.293 square miles a better place for all to live. In tandem with others, Friedrichs advanced the ideas of individuals willing to make a difference and listened to other individuals struggling to survive during the pandemic.
Friedrichs received the distinguished Rotarian of the Year award 2020-2021 at the Rotary Club of Herndon’s regular early Wednesday morning meeting held on June 30. The Club had recently moved back to Amphora Diner Deluxe in Herndon after meeting virtually during year one of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other pre-pandemic years, there was no awards ceremony, no hotel banquet hall, testimonies, nor toasts, just Friedrichs and her fellow Rotarians at the 7:30 a.m. meeting at the local diner.
FRIEDRICHS later said she was surprised when Rudy Tassara, president of the Club, presented her with the award. She earned recognition through her outstanding dedication and demonstration of “Service Above Self” and principled commitment to the organization’s Four-Way Test.
According to Tassara, Friedrichs had always been “super active” in the Club. She joined in 2011, but during the pandemic, Friedrichs “definitely was number one.”
“The only events we were doing in the Club were Signe’s,” said Tassara in an interview after the presentation.
As chair of the Satellite Club of Herndon Rotary, Friedrichs’ unbridled enthusiasm magnetized others, Rotarians and non-Rotarians, in project after project. “The pandemic has been a tough one for service clubs,” said Friedrichs a few days after she received the award.
“The Satellite Club of Herndon Rotary, which I chair, chose to hold food drives and other necessities and children’s books drives out of the terrible need in this community because these events could be held safely during the pandemic, and because our membership is powerfully motivated by service to others,” Friedrichs said.
Elysa Berman of Herndon is a member of the Rotary Club of Herndon. She has served with Friedrichs for over a decade in multiple charitable organizations and efforts.
“Signe has done so much over the 2020-2021 year, including organizing multiple food drives, holding weekly clean-ups, creating a safer and healthier environment, and so much more,” said Berman. “Signe truly exemplifies Service Above Self and is a shining star for Rotary and the Herndon community,” Berman said.
“Thank you to ArtsHerndon, Green Lizard Cycling, and Weird Brothers Coffee for providing shelter and support, and to the Green Lizard Foundation for their generous donation,” said Friedrichs, not wanting to forget anyone.
SHEILA OLEM, Mayor of Herndon, wrote to Friedrichs as mayor: “Your service to the community through food drives has made a positive impact on the lives of others, and I am happy to see you being recognized for your service.”
On Tuesday evenings, community members can find Friedrichs seated on the Town of Herndon dais representing all constituents within the town. Third-term Herndon Town Councilmember Friedrichs is the former Executive Director of ArtsHerndon, previously known as the Council for the Arts of Herndon, the town’s recognized arts agency. She demonstrates a history of working in the nonprofit administration industry and is a member of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Main Club, Herndon Rotary Club, as of July 3, meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Amphora’s on Elden Street in the Town of Herndon. The Satellite Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month, at 6 p.m. at various locations in the town. For more information, email the Club’s Executive Secretary, Stevan Porter.