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ArlingtonService-club coalition promotes collaboration, honors service

Service-club coalition promotes collaboration, honors service

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The Inter-Service Club Council of Arlington’s 83rd-anniversary luncheon was not simply a chance to honor the organization’s Man and Woman of the Year, but to recommit toward having service organizations working (individually and collectively) to serve the greater good in the community.

The Inter-Service Club Council (ISCC) held its annual luncheon and awards presentation on Nov. 16 at Washington Golf & Country Club. The event was moved online in 2020 owing to the pandemic but otherwise has been held in person for more than eight decades.

“We had over 70 in attendance,” said Sandy Bushue, the ISCC president, praising the remarks of County Manager Mark Schwartz, who served as keynote speaker.

Schwartz “really motivated the group so much that I have received e-mails from others wanting to do more to strengthen ISCC,” said Bushue, a member of the Optimist Club of Arlington and the Inter-Service Club Council’s president since 2021.

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The Inter-Service Club Council got its start in 1940; today, members of volunteer organizations that are members of the council contribute about 100,000 hours of volunteer service in the community each year. To honor that effort, the County Board declares a mid-November week as “Inter-Service Club Council Week” in the community.

Tapped as 2022 Man and Woman of the Year for the organization were:

• Frank O’Leary, a long-standing member of the Optimist Club of Arlington, where he has been active in a host of initiatives. O’Leary also served as county treasurer for 30 years.

• Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, a member of the Arlington chapter of The Links, Inc., who also rose to serve as president of the national Links organization, which is comprised of women of African descent.

For each club, the 2022 award represented a second straight year of accolades. In 2021, Earnestine Bridges Borden of The Links, Inc., was honored as Woman of the Year and Dr. John “J.B.” Whitlow of the Optimist Club of Arlington was saluted as Man of the Year.

(Neither 2022 recipient was able to attend the ceremony. O’Leary will be presented his award at the Dec. 14 Optimist Club Christmas breakfast; representatives of The Links are expected to be on hand, as well.)

Service clubs, which boomed in the post-World War II era in Arlington and across the nation, have faced membership challenges in recent years, but for every club that is on the decline, others have found avenues to inspire a new generation to take up the cause of civic leadership.

The ISCC serves essentially as a clearinghouse for service organizations such as the Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs. But its membership also includes the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Historical Society, Offender Aid and Restoration and Better Sports Club of Arlington, among others.

For information on the Inter-Service Club Council of Arlington, see the Website at https://arlingtoniscc.com.

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