On Sunday, April 7, 2019, 330 volunteers were honored for their service to the Town of Herndon from 28 different service organization and groups. Each of these honorees contributed 100 hours or more of volunteer service in the community last year. The 35th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Reception was held at the Herndon Community Center.
Citizens joined Herndon’s Mayor, Lisa C. Merkel, members of the Town Council, and Representative Gerry Conolly, Virginia’s Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah, and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, in celebrating the spirit of volunteerism, and the theme, Celebrate Service. The keynote speaker was Debra Bressler, Program Director with the Retired and Senior Volunteer program in Loudoun County.
The Distinguished Corporate Service Award honors a business or corporation that has contributed to the Town through outstanding commitment to, or promotion of, the Town for the greater good of Herndon. Nominated by LINK, a non-profit that provides emergency food to thousands each year, the award was given to Griffin Owen Insurance Group who more than ten years ago, took over all the food deliveries during the month of December. This four day per week commitment requires coordination of delivery schedules with the families, picking up the food from the LINK pantry, driving to generally four homes per day, carrying the food inside and returning to the pantry. They also help recruit donations when the pantry runs low. Their long-standing volunteerism and compassion for their neighbors has a tremendous impact on the Herndon community.
Claire Jones was recognized as the Distinguished Teen Volunteer. A 9th grader at Herndon High School, Claire has contributed over 400 service hours since 2017 at events such as the Homecoming Parade, Passport to Fun, and Naturefest. As a scout, she hosted the annual Girl Scout Thinking Day, ensuring that the multicultural event would continue for over 150 girls in 13 troops. Claire currently serves as Scribe and Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, as well as the primary social media coordinator.
The first Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mr. Carl Vassar who began volunteering with LINK in 1998 soon after retirement. He started first with the mattress program, and later became Assistant Pantry Manager, which paired well with his professional experience with the Food and Drug Administration. He ensures all deliveries are made, the shelves are re-stocked, recycling is properly disposed, of and volunteers are welcomed with a smile.
The second Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ms. Naila Alam. After surviving a life-threatening illness, Naila chose to dedicate herself to assisting others, especially immigrant families, and women/widows who were struggling with language barriers, financial hardships, and unfamiliarity in a new country. By founding the 501-C3 Express Care in 2003 with her spouse and sister, she was able to assist by providing translation services and English as a second language classes, skills training and job placement, thus aiding these women and families to become self-sufficient in their new country. Express Care also assists with clothing and household goods, groceries, driving instruction, over the counter medications, health care enrollment and preparation for the Citizenship exam.
The third Distinguished Service award was presented to Ms. Margaret Jamborsky. When two years ago the Herndon High School band was selected to perform at the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, Ms. Jamborsky began doing some research and upon learning the USS Herndon was the lead ship in the invasion at Omaha Beach on D-Day, she found the original muster roles, contacted 290 families of the 301 men serving aboard the ship that day, collected hundreds of photos of the men, paired students to crew members, guided students in preparing speeches, introduced students and veterans, and obtained videos from World War II survivors. She has shared the stories and built connections with the Herndon community, the students of Herndon High, the Historical Society, and the World War II veterans and their families.
Nominations were accepted for the following categories:
Outstanding Volunteers - Outstanding Volunteer should have provided a minimum of 100 hours of donated community service or support during the past year. Their contributions need not have been in a leadership or chairman role ~ just noteworthy and of extra and consistent effort.
Distinguished Service Award - The Distinguished Volunteer is the highest level of recognition awarded in the town, presented to those individuals who have demonstrated exemplary levels of service over several years or in projects, which required significant levels of leadership, service and effort. Candidates should have displayed extensive community-wide volunteer support in sports, social services, arts, conservation, safety, or other community activities or organizations. Individuals should have displayed a commitment to volunteering with a minimum of two years of service and demonstrated a willingness to assume multiple responsibilities and/or projects involving considerable leadership, time, and effort. A previous Distinguished Service Award winner cannot be selected again within a ten-year period.
Distinguished Corporate Service Award - To qualify for this award, a business must promote the Town of Herndon as a great place to live and work, and have influence on making the town a better place for all citizens through innovation, policies and practices that support and encourage volunteerism, for at least the past two years.