Citizen of the Year Banquet


The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations, with co-sponsors Leidos and Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh PC, hosted the 65th annual Fairfax County Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Tysons Corner hotel. The Federation and the co-sponsors were honored to recognize Michael O’Reilly as the 2014 Citizen of the Year for his service to and for the citizens of Fairfax.

Michael O’Reilly is a true "model citizen." His willingness to take on tough challenges shows that he is not afraid of failure and able to step outside of his comfort zone to work on issues that will help County residents. In 2009 he helped create the Governing Board of the Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. He has chaired the Board since its inception to provide "vision, leadership, and policy guidance to reach the goal of preventing and ending homelessness by December 31, 2018." This is no small task and Mr. O'Reilly takes an active role in the Board's work. He chairs both the Resource Development and Advocacy Subcommittees and regularly testifies before the Board of Supervisors and other organizations on matters related to homelessness. He has represented the Governing Board and the Partnership on television and in interviews, and has brought attention housing needs in Fairfax County. Mr. O'Reilly's work has brought the County closer to its goal of eradicating homelessness.

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  Connie Hartke and Bruce Wright. Connie Hartke has employed her talents for the good of Fairfax County citizens and she is probably best known around the county for her leadership in Rescue Reston, a grassroots organization formed in July 2012. As an avid environmentalist and long-time Reston resident and Board Member of the Reston Citizens Association, she immediately grasped the importance of the fight to save the 166-acre Reston National Golf Course. Ms. Hartke invests the time and energy to really educate herself and others on matters of key significance for the community. Bruce Wright can usually be seen using his bicycle to take short (and some longer) trips around Fairfax County. He travels by bike to most of the many meetings he attends as Chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Since 2005, Bruce and FABB members have worked with Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation to ensure that bicycling is an integral part of the county's transportation system. Bruce spent many long hours working with the county to help create the Bicycle Route Map, currently in the third edition.

The Federation also presented Special Gratitude Awards to two long-serving Board of Supervisors who decide not to run for reelection: The Honorable Sully Supervisor Michael “Mike” Frey has represented Sully District since its creation after the 1990 census. Since the beginning of his tenure as supervisor in 1992, Mr. Frey oversaw enormous growth and change in the Centreville/Chantilly area. His expertise in land use and development issues helped guide the area through this transition period. Notable accomplishments were the creation of the Centreville Historic District, the acquisition of over 2,000 acres of parkland, and the establishment of a day labor center in Centreville.  The Honorable Mt. Vernon Supervisor Gerald “Gerry” Hyland sets an exemplary pillar of representation which has energized and rallied the citizens of his district to actively engage and work to better the community and has empowered citizens to have an active voice in government. He has served his constituents loyally and always ensured that the interests of the citizens was first and foremost. Supervisor Hyland’s achievements are so numerous and all-encompassing that no single list could capture the entirety of his efforts.

The Federation also presented a Lifetime Achievement / Special Gratitude Award to Mary Agee. For the past 43 years, Mary Agee has made an enormous difference in the lives of Northern Virginians, many of them low income and struggling. Joining Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) in 1972, Ms. Agee became the organization's leader 26 years ago. In 1996, Ms. Agee and NVFS developed a signature initiative, the innovative Training Futures program, a six-month intensive office skills job training program in a simulated office environment. Partnering with Northern Virginia Community College, which offers credits for the Training Futures curriculum, the program has trained 1,700 individuals who were low income, and under-employed or unemployed.

All photographs (C) 2015 Fairfax Federation were taken by Sharon and Steven Okrend who we thank, page date 10 June 2015

3 May 2015