For more information: Mary Supley Foxworth, 571-323-9567 Reston Interfaith Brian Bauer, 703-707-9045 Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce 2007 Best of Reston Award Winners Announced For Release January 11, 2007 -- The winners of the 2007 Best of Reston Awards were announced today, January 11, 2007, at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce 25th Anniversary Kick-off Celebration. This year’s winners are Access National Bank, Frank Bensinger, Jennifer Blackwell, Wendell Byrd, Georgia Graves, Fran & John Lovaas, and NII Holdings. [A brief bio of each winner follows this release.] The annual Best of Reston Awards honor businesses, organizations, and individuals who have put forth tremendous effort in their commitment to community service and improving the lives of others. The Awards and Gala are produced in partnership by Reston Interfaith and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Nominations for the awards were submitted in September and October 2006 from the community. An anonymous panel reviewed all nominations and selected the winners of this year’s awards. This year’s Best of Reston Fundraising Co-Chairs Joe Ritchey and Jen Sterling announced the winners to a packed audience at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Reston. Winners of the 2007 Best of Reston Awards will be formally honored at the 16th Annual Best of Reston Gala on April 19, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Reston. Sponsorship opportunities for the gala are available for $500 and up; details are available at www.restoninterfaith.org. Proceeds from Best of Reston support the programs and services of Reston Interfaith. Best of Reston 2007 is presented by Access National Bank, Boston Properties, Freddie Mac, The JBG Companies, Linden Springs, Northrop Grumman, and Reston Hospital Center/HCA Virginia. Reston Interfaith is a nonprofit organization serving Northern Virginia that promotes self-sufficiency through support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other services. Founded in 1970 by area religious organizations, Reston Interfaith has become a leading social service provider in Northern Virginia, offering comprehensive programs for more than 13,000 individuals and families in Reston, Herndon, and the surrounding area last year. For more information, contact Reston Interfaith at 571-323-9555 or visit www.restoninterfaith.org. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce delivers opportunities to businesses by designing programs that bring together firms both small and large, so that entrepreneurs and corporate executives can exchange ideas and build relationships. Through their relationship with the Chamber, businesses can increase their exposure, receive insider information, meet key decision makers, and find ways to make a difference in the community. From marketing and communications tools to networking functions, programs and events, the Chamber constantly provides valuable business opportunities from which members benefit. For more information on the Chamber’s business and community initiatives, visit www.restonchamber.org or e-mail email@example.com. #### Access National Bank believes that good business means involvement in the community. As a company, they actively support their employees’ and client’s endeavors with volunteerism and financial assistance. Access is actively involved in leadership and support roles with a number of charities, including long-term commitments to Reston Interfaith, Brain Injury Services, and the Adult Community Education Foundation, sponsoring events and giving time and money to these and other organizations. The bank also actively promotes the business community through participation in local chambers of commerce and business alliances. Access is a community partner we can count on. For 17 years, Frank Bensinger has served as Principal of Forest Edge Elementary School, showing remarkable dedication to the education of his students, a passion that some colleague describe as “contagious.” He is also keenly aware of the human needs of his students, staff, parents, and community. Frank encourages parents to become involved with the school and their community, and also reaches out to the community to support and partner with the school. Always, though, the children are at the center of his leadership. Frank has been credited as a visionary, in part for his role in helping Forest Edge become a model of technology. To his students and staff, he is also educator, advocate, and friend. Jennifer Blackwell adeptly juggles motherhood, her career as an Attorney for the Department of Justice, and tremendous service to her neighbors in Reston. Since 2003, Jennifer has volunteered more than 1800 hours of her time to the Reston Association, one of the largest homeowners associations in the US. She served as Secretary in 2003 and 2004 and as President/Chair of the Board of Directors in 2005 and 2006. In addition to presiding over meetings and serving on a number of committees, Jennifer took the leadership role in completing the recent review, re- drafting, and referendum campaign of the association’s governing documents. She works tirelessly for her neighbors to determine what’s around the corner. This marks Wendell Byrd’s final year at South Lakes High School, after more than 20 years as the varsity boys’ basketball coach and director of the basketball program. Though his record as coach of the Seahawks is impressive, there’s much more of which he can be proud. In 2006, Wendell retired from a teaching career spanning about 30 years, most recently at working at Hutchison Elementary School. He has also devoted much time and effort to developing opportunities for all youth in our community through, for example, his work with youth programs at Stonegate and the establishment of the PIT Teen Program that later became the Teen Center at the YMCA; more recently, he has served on the Board of Management of the YMCA. Over the years, he has given many scholarships to the Summer Basketball Camp he offered, and he helped create a club at South Lakes to provide financial support for kids who couldn’t afford the equipment and other items needed to play basketball. Wendell emphasizes teamwork, sportsmanship, respect, and hard work. Through his support and encouragement, his students and players have learned much more than the fundamentals. Georgia Graves is an innovative business leader within her company, Bridgman Communications, and the community at large. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, and Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. Georgia serves as an inspiration and mentor to many businesses within our region. She is a friend to the arts, too. Georgia was a member of the Board of the Council for the Arts of Herndon, Herndon’s Channel 23, and Fairfax Public Access. You might also see her performing as Drum Major for American Originals Fife & Drum Corps. Take note: Georgia can show you how to be active in the community. Fran & John Lovaas embody the ideal of community spirit. Together, they are dedicated volunteers of the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Herndon Official Workers Center, Bargain Loft, and the Red Cross. Apart, Fran demonstrates her commitment to education as a long- standing member and Co-President of the local branch of the American Association of University Women, mentor to at-risk girls at Forest Edge Elementary School, and coordinator of the GEMS program (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) at Dogwood Elementary School. John, through his service and leadership roles with Reston Association, Reston Citizens Association, and Alliance for a Better Community, and as producer and host of a weekly program on Channel 28, has led and contributed to important discussions about Reston’s growth and continued vitality. During warmer months, rain or shine, you’ll also find him wearing the hat of Market Master at the Reston Homegrown Farmer’s Market. This couple gives new meaning to “service with a smile.” NII Holdings is a Reston-based telecommunications business that encourages its employees to work together to improve their local community. Through the company’s Social Responsibility Committee, employees select and direct their volunteer efforts and financial contributions to make a difference. Their impact has been tremendous, particularly in the lives of four families who evacuated to Fairfax County following Hurricane Katrina; NII Holdings donated $5000 to each of these families to assist them in rebuilding and recovering their lives, as well as donating additional funds for other families. The company has helped other local families through their work with Habitat for Humanity, providing over 60 volunteers in summer 2005, for the construction of three new homes in Fairfax, in addition to making substantial financial contributions. For the past two years, NII has supported Kids R First and Reston Interfaith’s back-to-school drive, providing about 150 backpacks each year, in addition to supporting local holiday food and gift drives. Their year-round support extends to charities and events such as Ronald McDonald House, Race for the Cure, World Education and Development Fund, Help the Homeless Walkathon, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Kidsave. NII Holdings excels at connecting neighbors.
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