What was supposed to have been a month filled with celebrations for our collective independence, baseball and the anticipation of lazy summer vacations, turned into stories of survival. To say the least, July 2012 will stand in our memories for a very long time.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve faced our fair share of weather challenges. Blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, tropical storms and then in July an event no one seems to be able to even pronounce – a Derecho. Then, just to show she was still the boss, Mother Nature followed this event up with sweltering temperatures and no rain. The folks – myself included – who rely upon the RELAC system to cool their Lake Anne homes watched the water level drop to 16 inches below normal.
This community has seen its fair share of natural calamities, and it seems we always come out on the other side reasonably intact and okay. All these things put us to the test again.
What I also witnessed during July was the thing that makes Reston such an incredible community. Never mind that many of you may have been without power or running water at the time, you came out to help your neighbors. When the call went out for food and relief for the residents of the Lake Anne Fellowship House, within in literally an hour, people were at the door with food and water.
Reston should be very proud of its volunteers who continually go beyond their comfort zones and make things happen. In particular, I want to extend a huge thank you to those folks that dropped everything and immediately responded to make sure food, water, transportation, cooling and communications were available to those in critical need.
When the temperatures rose and the lake levels declined, residents in Lake Anne knocked on doors, called to make sure their neighbors were okay.
Reston Association staff, county emergency workers and first responders, who may have been without power or water themselves, braved the elements to ensure that the infrastructure of the community remained in tact. Staff removed downed trees, cleared the vital pathways that connect us to everything and got the pools going. The next time you see one of these folks – just take a moment, shake their hand and say thank you.
When you live in a place like Reston, it is easy sometimes to take these things for granted. But when you see the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who want nothing more than to see their community succeed, you realize just how unique Reston really is. They say it runs on volunteers. Recently, I had the opportunity to put faces to that statement at the annual volunteer appreciation pool party. There with me were a hundred or so of the many people who routinely give back to Reston and make ours the incredible community we have.
As you know, I have been promoting two key thoughts since becoming president --“protect, preserve and enhance what we have.” as well as “...get involved.” And get involved you do. Our volunteers and dedicated staff were the true legacies of the July of 2012. You are the reason we could celebrate the month and look forward to the next ones.