Citizen of the Year Banquet


The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations, hosted the 66th annual Fairfax County Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Tysons Corner hotel. The Federation recognized Olga Hernandez as the 2015 Citizen of the Year for her service to and for the citizens of Fairfax.

Olga Hernandez has been involved with the League of Women Voters in Virginia for over 20 years. Olga became a board member of the LWV of the Fairfax Area in 1996 (Fairfax is the largest league in the state) and served as its president from 2000 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, she served as the Vice President and director of the League of Women Voters of Virginia., and in 2007, she was elected president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. In addition to the presidency, she moderated the Women's Roundtable meetings during the General Assembly sessions. She served on the Help America Vote Act committee for Virginia, the Virginia State Board of Elections Residency Task Force and state Census Complete Count Committee. She is an officer of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and the LWV of the National Capital Areas. She served on the Fairfax County Bi-Partisan Election Improvement Commission and has also served on various community committees. For her many and diverse volunteer efforts, including making Fairfax and Virginia residents informed voters, the Fairfax Federation is honored to recognize Olga Hernandez as 2015 Citizen of the Year.

Federation President Tim Thompson served as Master of Ceremonies. Here is a copy of the banquet program.

In addition to the Citizen of the Year Award, the Federation presented Citations of Merit to Doug Sanderson, Jim Hart, Phil Rosenthal and Shirley Ginwright. Doug Sanderson has tirelessly devoted 25 years of pro-bono legal service to the citizens of Fairfax County as legal counsel to the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Inc. The Arts Council is the non-profit organization that is Fairfax County's designated local arts agency. Doug's professional expertise has had and continues to have a direct and positive impact on the quality of life in Fairfax County. Jim Hart, an attorney with Hart & Horan, PC, is an author and frequent lecturer on construction law, and a former Chair of the Construction Law and Public Contracts Section of the Virginia State Bar. He has served for the past 31 years on the Fairfax Public Law Library committee.and  been an at-large member of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals since 2000. He has served as an at-large member of the Fairfax County Planning Commission since 2004, including 2 terms as Parliamentarian, and its current Secretary, handling countywide zoning ordinance amendments. Phil Rosenthal serves on the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board, Fairfax County A. Heath Onthank Memorial Awards Selection Committee and Good Shepherd Housing. He is deeply committed to help our area’s low-income families in their struggles of finding adequate housing, food and caring for their children. For a number of years Phil has participated in the Fairfax County of Fire and Rescue Department Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue various drives: school backpack, coats, shoes, haircuts and holiday toys. Recently Phil was awarded the Governor’s 2013 Virginia’s Fire Service Award for Excellence in Virginia’s Fire Service Support – Private Sector. Shirley Ginwright is the president of the Fairfax County NAACP and has long been active in Public Safety initiatives and programs. Shirley served on the Fairfax County Chief of Police's Diversity Council in 2013 and has worked hard to increase diversity within the Police Department. After the riots in Ferguson, MO, she saw a need to increase cooperation and communication between residents and public safety agencies. In early 2015, she met with law enforcement leaders and elected officials to discuss what precautions were in place and what needed to be done to prevent violence from occurring in Fairfax County. After this meeting, the Communities of Trust Committee (COTC) was established with Shirley as Chairman, bringing together law enforcement agencies and citizens to discuss community outreach and cooperation.

The Federation also presented  a Special Gratitude Award to Sally Sibley Sally Sibley retired after 42 years as President & CEO of PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families, a nonprofit serving youth with disabilities. During Sibley's time at PHILLIPS, the organization grew from serving four students in a small schoolhouse to serving over 500 children and families in five programs across the entire Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Sibley's desire to work directly with children brought her to PHILLIPS and this commitment is the reason she continued her work for 42 years. "Sally has given her leadership, time and effort to build and sustain our strong and highly regarded organization on behalf of the children," explains Kevin Boyce, Chairman of the PHILLIPS Board of Trustees.

Representative Gerry Connolly, who could not attend, inserted into the Congressional Record a brief description of each honoree’s achievements.

All photographs (C) 2016 Fairfax Federation were taken by Sharon and Steven Okrend who we thank, page date 26 May 2016

3 April 2016