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November 13, 2014 Published in Non-Profits, Other News

Volunteer Alexandria Honors Local Volunteers

Marian van Landingham (Courtesy Photo)

Marian van Landingham (Courtesy Photo)

Volunteer Alexandria recently hosted its annual “Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria” awards ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of some of the community’s most dedicated volunteers. This year’s awards recognized five individuals who displayed exemplary service within the Alexandria community. Val Hawkins, CEO and President of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership was selected for the Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award. Marya Fitzgerald, Donald White and Jim Walsh all received the Grassroots Volunteer Service Award. The Youth Volunteer Service Award was presented to Yahya Yaziji.

“Volunteer Alexandria has been building a better community by inspiring and mobilizing people to volunteer since 1980. Every day, volunteers are helping families and individuals who need a little extra help. We are fortunate to have so many great volunteers and are proud to honor them at our event,” said Frank Fannon, Board President. Marion Brunken, Executive Director for Volunteer Alexandria said, “All of the awardees

have dedicated their time, skills, and passion to help those who are in need, whether they have taught history, extinguished fires or fixed computer infrastructures.” She added, “They have all committed themselves to these very important tasks. The volunteer recognition event is all about supporting their volunteer engagement efforts.”

Award Recipients

(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

Val Hawkins, the recipient of the Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award, has dedicated much of his life to helping improve the lives of Alexandria residents. He has been a member of the community for more than 30 years and championed many different causes. Val currently serves on the board for three different organizations: Carpenter’s Shelter, ACT For Alexandria, and the Art League of Alexandria. He previously served on the Board of Advisors at the Woodlawn & Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope Leighey House and co-chaired Volunteer Alexandria’s Annual Business Philanthropy Summit

Marya Fitzgerald was awarded the Grass Roots Volunteer Service Award for her extensive work with Alexandria Archaeology and the Alexandria Archaeology Adventure Lessons program, where she helped school-aged children learn about archaeology with hands-on activities. In addition to teaching lessons, Marya serves as museum docent, newsletter editor and board member of Friends of Alexandria Archaeology. She has logged more than 3,800 hours of community service, averaging around 350 hours every year. Marya has also volunteered for the Folger Shakespeare Library and Smithsonian.

(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

Donald White also received the Grass Roots Volunteer Service Award for his work with the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, of which he has been a member since 1974. Donald has volunteered for many other organizations as well, including the American Red Cross’ Alexandria Chapter, Alexandria Community Emergency Response Team Alexandria Citizen Corps Council Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Community Action Team and the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps. He has proven his dedication to the community in a variety of roles, particularly with his emergency response work.

The final recipient of the Grass Roots Volunteer Service Award was Jim Walsh. After retiring from Raytheon, Jim decided to offer his skills to SCAN, a non-profit in Alexandria with a mission for every child to grow up in a safe, stable and nurturing home. Since 2005, Jim has dedicated more than 200 hours of information technology services to the organization each year. He regularly runs security checks on SCAN’s computers, updates software, and sets up and manages email accounts. His ability to identify problems early on and make recommendations, as well as his ability to replace individual parts rather than replace complete systems has kept SCAN’s IT budget low, while ensuring staff members have access to functioning equipment to do their work.

Yahya Yaziji received the Youth Volunteer Service Award in honor of his outstanding work with groups like the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) and the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA). Yahya played an important role in ACAP’s KeepIt360 program, which brought together teens, parents and members of the Alexandria community to discuss adolescent pregnancy issues. He also spoke at SAPCA’s Kick Butts Day Kick-Off, which educated young people on the dangers of smoking. Yahya stands out among his peers as a young leader who invested his time, talents and energy to make a positive impact on the community.

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