The 34th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Reception was held Sunday, April 15 at the Herndon Community Center. 440 volunteers were honored for their service to the Town of Herndon from 30 different service organization and groups each of whom dedicated more than 100 hours of his/her time and talent toward enhancing the quality of life in Herndon.
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. The award was given to Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern for its significant role in promoting and vitalizing Herndon's Historic Downtown through its founding membership in the Herndon Hospitality Association, as the focal 'gathering place' for the downtown for the last 20 years, and its longevity as a contributing member of the Herndon business community.
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. The 2018 Distinguished Service Award winners were:
The first Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ms. Karen Joseph who began the invaluable “Food for Neighbors” program as a volunteer at Herndon Middle School. Ms. Joseph recognized that students were often hungry, especially on the weekends and in the summer when school meals were not available. She began a partnership with local businesses to provide food and pantry items for Herndon’s middle and high school families. Her passion and energy has seen the organization expand throughout the county school system.
The second Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ms. Laura Readyoff who has developed free and inclusive music programs to benefit children in the Herndon area. With the support of Arts Herndon and her own company, the Music Loft, she created the innovative “Percussion Works” program and started the Herndon Regional Youth Orchestra. More than 140 students participated in Percussion Works over the last four years and have performed at the Herndon Homecoming Parade, Friday Night Live, the Herndon Festival, Art’s Herndon’s Third Thursday Arts Crawl and school concerts. The orchestra is open to all intermediate to advanced middle and high school students who love to play. Ms. Readyoff is also credited for refurbishing over 60 used instruments and donating them to the schools as part of her Play it Forward program.
The Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Reception is held annually in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, which has been celebrated for 44 years and is sponsored nationwide by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. The 35th Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation night is scheduled for April 7, 2019.