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Vienna recognizes volunteers for enhancing life in town

22nd annual event lauds many ways town residents can get involved

Vienna would not be the town it is without the work of volunteers doing everything from helping those in need and caring for the environment to ensuring public safety and keeping the arts scene vibrant.

Continuing a tradition begun by her late mother (former Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman), Mayor Linda Colbert on April 18 served as master of ceremonies for the 22nd Volunteer Recognition Day.

Colbert read a proclamation declaring April 18 Volunteer Recognition Day in Vienna, and said the event was her favorite of the year.

“You all are the heart of Vienna,” Colbert said. “You are the ones who make Vienna the first among towns, best in the nation.”

The event, held at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s upstairs Flame Room, drew more than 100 people and featured percussion music from the Vienna Jammers.

This year’s honorees were:

Tim Fricker, owner of Bikes@Vienna, who received the Carole Wolfand Community Service Award from the Town Business Liaison Committee (TBLC). In addition to providing solid service to customers, Fricker is vice chairman of the TBLC, serves on the town’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, is a Vienna Business Association board member and is an avid nature photographer.

Sydney and Hunter Guthrie, who from 2020 through 2022 made sleeping mats for homeless people using “plarn,” a yarn made from cut-and-tied plastic shopping bags. After those bags became harder to find following Fairfax County’s adoption of a plastic-bag tax, the siblings created a non-profit organization, A Taste of Home Inc., which delivers baked items to food-insecure residents.

Turner Bridgforth, for his work in supporting theatrical-arts efforts in Vienna. Bridgforth has served as a Vienna Theatre Company board member and chief audio engineer for Vienna Youth Players.

Andy Lau, who for five years has been a steady volunteer at the Vienna Learning Garden. Lau has taken responsibility for ongoing maintenance of some sections of the garden and proposed a project to coat the wood of the garden’s Little Library with weather-resistant sealant.

Joanne Carrico, who makes and serves lunches for senior residents at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church and supports Vienna Little League as well.

Leigh Kitcher, Anne Stuntz and Nancy Moats for making and baking items for teas at the Freeman House and Museum.

Ed Belte, a retired aerospace engineer and active volunteer with the North East Vienna Citizens Association, for his efforts helping the Vienna Department of Public Works sift through data that the Vienna Town Council then used to implement a pilot leaf-collection program last fall.

Nancy Socher, who has led monthly online meetings in which local non-profit groups shared information about the community’s needs

Nancy Moats, vice president of Historic Vienna Inc.’s board of directors, for her work in numerous of the group’s activities. Moats and her husband, Sims, worked with HVI volunteers in 2016 to make the Freeman Store and Museum’s basement habitable for the group’s Used Book Cellar, the daily operations of which she still runs.

Social 4 Good, a Vienna-based group of more than 200 women that supports a wide variety of community needs.

Brian Ebert, who coaches the nationally ranked high-school girls’ rugby team of Vienna Youth Inc.

Michael’s Lawn Service, which donated complete lawn-care services – worth about $10,000 per year – to the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. The award was accepted by owner Cameron Medwedeff and lawn-service field manager Javier Mejia.

Stan Ellis, for his longtime volunteer work at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, which he joined in 1986. Ellis since 2001 has served as the department’s treasurer, a role in which he has helped manage the capital campaign for a $3.8 million renovation project and presented annual guidance for the board of directors’ budget planning.

Zara Javeri, Danika Pfleghardt, Caro Pennington, Maylani Nguyen, Emery Stratman and Sophia Brown, who as members of Girl Scout Troop 2013 have earned some of Girl Scouts’ top awards.

A.J. Oskuie of the Rotary Club of Vienna earned the Mayor’s Award for chairing the club’s ViVa! Vienna! efforts for the past seven years. The undertaking is massive and preparations for the following year’s event begin immediately after each year’s ViVa! Vienna! on Memorial Day weekend, Colbert said.

Ken Nahigian, Matthew Difiore, Alison Ranney and Jerris Riordan for their work in testing, and suggesting improvements to, the Vienna town government’s Website.

Anne Nelson and Karen Thompson, for their work with the Five Hill Garden Club in providing holiday wreaths for public buildings and local churches.

Brian Land, who along with the law firm where he is an environmental lawyer did a pro-bono project for the town regarding tree preservation.

Vienna Cars & Coffee Team, which every other week holds an exotic-car meet-up at Cedar Lane Shopping Center. Proceeds from merchandise sales at the events benefit One Neighborhood Foundation, which helps feed food-insecure families.

Shelley Ebert, who for two years has organized an Easter egg hunt that benefits the One Neighborhood Foundation.

Marilyn Mallery, who does extensive work for the Golden Girls Softball Association.

Ann Smith, Jill Miller and Susan Voss, for their efforts as office volunteers for the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia.

Sally Meaker-Unger, who was honored posthumously for her work as president of the Vienna Pickleball Club and “pickleball ambassador” for Fairfax County.

Monica Nuno, a PTA member at Marshall Road Elementary School, for her efforts with the school’s composting program.

Debbie Schechtman-Rook for her work in ensuring that hard-to-recycle items go to their appropriate places.

Brian Stroud, who manages the wood-cutting operation for non-profit group Rustic Love’s heart signs and is a member of the Core Adult Volunteer Group.

Irene Coyne, Estelle McNeil, Richard Blank and Asha Bhandarkar, for their work in supporting the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department’s educational and social events for adults age 55 and older.

Ken and Pat Britz, for their efforts in leading the Vienna Arts Society’s second “Take a Seat Vienna” fund-raising project involving artistically painted benches.

Jodi Condes, who serves as the Vienna Arts Society’s treasurer and is carrying out the group’s strategic planning for the next five years.

Ruth Ensley, the Vienna Arts Society’s 2023 Artist of the Year, who served as the group’s president during the pandemic and positively critiques members’ artworks.

Diana Vitarelli, who helped refurbish facilities at Waters Field.

George Hoadley, for directing several projects that have maintained the Council Square neighborhood’s community grounds, common areas and residential properties.