Outstanding community volunteerism celebrated – Sun Gazette
By accepting the Volunteer Arlington Community Service Award on July 12, Les Garrison spread the love to all who serve with him as part of the Arlington Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.
“This award belongs to all Arlington CERT teammates. It’s a real team effort,” Garrison said at the annual Arlington Cares Volunteer Celebration, held for the third of six years in an online format due to pandemic conditions.
Arlington’s CERT effort (overseen by the county government but supported largely by community volunteers) grew out of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Local residents then wanted to help, but had limited means to do it.
The result was a training program designed to provide the necessary context for local residents to do their part in natural or man-made disasters, from hurricanes to COVID.
Garrison’s efforts in CERT leadership roles have been exemplary, said Will Flagler, acting director of the county government’s public safety and emergency management communications agency.
“Arlington County is fortunate to have a leader like Les,” Flagler said.
But Garrison, again, spread the accolades.
“It’s not about me,” he said, praising “the enormous amount of time invested by all my teammates”.
Speaking at the awards program, Lisa Fikes — CEO of the Leadership Center for Excellence, which operates Volunteer Arlington in conjunction with the county government — said the winners “found their passion, they identified their gifts, and they put them into action. stock”.
“Civic engagement can mean a variety of things. It could mean hunger for some, homelessness for others,” Fikes said. “There are many ways to get involved.”
But first, says Fikes, “take the time to listen and learn” while “finding that cause, that passion.”
During the program, 460 people were honored for providing at least 100 hours of service to social safety net organizations in the past year. Their combined 48,000 volunteer hours for the 13 reporting organizations are just part of a larger volunteer network across the community, Fikes said.
Also at the event:
• Meg Tuccillo received the Lifetime of Service Award. Among other efforts, Tuccillo has been active with PathForward (formerly Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network).
• Robin Norman Depaoli was honored for her leadership roles with National Capital Treatment and Recovery, while the Arlington Neighborhood Village Volunteer Group received accolades for their services to seniors.
• AvalonBay received the Distinguished Corporate Service Award for her efforts on behalf of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, while Patricia Hupalo received the RSVP Award for her work on behalf of Rebuilding Together.
• John and Adrianna Scribner received the Group Service Award for their support of Boy Scout Troop 106.
• JD Spain Sr., President of the Arlington Branch of the NAACP, received the first Civic Engagement Award for Racial Equity.
A recording of the awards ceremony will be posted soon at Volunteer.leadercenter.org/arlington-cares.