Dozens of volunteers whose contributions have bolstered the town of Vienna’s sense of community received accolades April 19 at the 20th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition ceremony.
“Volunteers strengthen our community,” said Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert. “I truly believe the volunteers in the town of Vienna are its heart and soul.”
Colbert’s mother, the late Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman, inaugurated the event in 2002 and the town has held it annually ever since, except in 2020 at the pandemic’s start. Town officials made up for that loss with a double ceremony last fall on the Town Green.
Officials hoped to hold this year’s event on that outdoor space as well, but unseasonably cold temperatures led organizers to hold the proceedings at the longtime venue, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s Flame Room.
Colbert gave Mayor’s Awards to Gloria Runyon and De Armond “Dee Dee” Carter, who served on the committee that studied renaming Wade Hampton Drive, S.W. The Vienna Town Council has decided to rename the street Liberty Lane, S.W.
Paula McGinnis of Body Grace Fitness & Yoga accepted the Carole Wolfand Community Service Award from Vienna Town/Business Liaison Committee chairman Robert Leggett.
This year’s other honorees were:
• Gloria Engstrom, for her efforts at rebuilding Vienna Presbyterian Church’s Children’s Ministry program, “Bridges to Worship.”
• Patty Esswein, who was nominated by Conservation and Sustainability Commission (CSC) chairman Christina Caplan for planning and managing last year’s native-tree seedling sale, helping organize this year’s Green Expo and working on the Solarize Vienna effort.
• Desiree DiMauro, whom Caplan nominated for eight years of work on the CSC, including being the driving force behind the annual Sustainability Challenge.
• Nicole Caplan and Sonali Chandra, nominated by DiMauro for their work as CSC’s student representatives.
• Mary Biear, nominated by Greater Vienna Babe Ruth League president Matt Moss after she “single-handedly transformed the Waters Field snack bar into a well-run and profitable enterprise.”
• Sarah Marshall, nominated by Lydia Russo for bringing together dozens of bakers to help fund-raise for Ukraine.
• Sada Guixens, whom Russo nominated for organizing the delivery of Thanksgiving meals to nearly 300 local families.
• Naomi Hutchins, nominated by Gwen Riddle for volunteering many hours at James Madison High School, including serving as “team mom” for all of the school’s track teams and reaching out to students who were feeling low because of the pandemic.
• Phillip Kenny, Boutia Pourhashemi, Emanuele Tosi, Maggie Hallbach, Sam Hallbach, Kate Hallbach and Joseph Gray, who were nominated by Bob Zadeh for their work with Vienna Youth Soccer.
• Margit Hanna, nominated by Anne Sween for teaching tai chi classes, including some by Zoom during the pandemic.
• Rosanna Carney, nominated by the mayor for her volunteer work at Pennywise Thrift Shop and the Freeman Store & Museum.
• Rebecca Sutter, Jerry Drye, Toni Florimonte, Mary Ann Godfrey, Loretta Junkin, David Keene, Bob Kimmel, Moon O’Connor and Isabel Showkatian, all nominated by Brandy Wyatt for helping operate the Bowman House’s pottery program.
• Joyce Myers, nominated by Lu Cousins for her volunteer work with the Vienna Arts Society and American Legion Post 180.
• David and Colleen Nielsen, nominated by Toni Letaw for serving as Blackstone Terrace, N.W., block captains for the Vienna Hills Citizens Association since 2015.
• Eric and Cathy Knutson, nominated by Pastor Brenda Burns for volunteering at Vienna Assembly of God.
• Sophia Brown, Juliette Kopp, Zara Javeri, Delaney Pfleghardt, Tea LaCroix, Genevieve Kopp and Bethany Riddle of Girl Scout Troop 2013, nominated by Seema Javeri for having earned last year the Girl Scout Silver Award, Silver Trefoil Award or Gold Award.
• Karen Mokate, Sharon Edelmann, Scott Slocum, Megan Laabs, JaneEllen Saums and Clay Hamrick of Vienna Presbyterian Church’s Afghan Support Team, nominated by Sue Hamblen for supporting an Afghan refugee family since last August.
• Katie Balberchak, Brenda Gardiner and Julie Knight of Vienna Presbyterian Church’s Bags of Love Team, nominated by Hamblen for helping distribute more than 500,000 pounds of food at three locations for 18 months during the pandemic.
• Hayden Krisko, nominated by the Vienna Presbyterian Church Missions Ministry for serving as a student leader with the Bags of Love food-distribution program.
• Luke Kenney, a Madison High junior who was nominated by Vienna Presbyterian Church Missions Ministry for assisting with the food-distribution effort.
• Gordon West, nominated by the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia for providing 260 free rides to home-bound older adults.
• Diane LaHaie, nominated by the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia for providing companionship for insolated and vulnerable community members.
• Jamieson Stride, nominated by the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia for serving as a Friendly Caller volunteer with the organization.
• Heather Stride, nominated by the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia for her Friendly Caller work and record-keeping efforts.
• Kimberlie Freund, Pam Thrasher, Bella Gustafson, Pat Terrell, Marquissa Funderburk, Sophia Hsu, Sonia Samantaroy, Maya Varghese, Patricia Stipe, Shirley Alexander, Patrick Sheridan, Leslie Norman, Anne Carter and Ivy Grimes Pullen, nominated by Belong! Vienna for tutoring and other work with the organization.
• Walker Crews, nominated by Debby Ward, coordinator of the Vienna Community Center’s Learning & Display Garden, for his work at the garden.
• Bettie Pell, nominated by Kristin Haynes for her work with the Golden Girls Softball Organization and the Committee for Helping Others.