2014 Best of Reston Winners Announced, Will Be Honored at April 10 Event

Five individuals, two businesses and one community organization will be honored at annual awards ceremony.

The 2014 Best of Reston winners, who will be honored Thursday, April 10. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
The 2014 Best of Reston winners, who will be honored Thursday, April 10. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce announced this year's Best of Reston award winners Thursday, Jan. 16. The annual awards highlight individuals, organizations and businesses for outstanding community service in and around Reston. 

"Every year we're very humbled to see what kind of service is being done out there that inspires everyone around them to do more," said Casey Veatch, a member of the Best of Reston's Sponsorship committee.

The annual event, which will be held Thursday, April 10 at the Hyatt Regency Reston, raises money for Cornerstones to purchase affordable housing to help individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness. 

Without further ado, here are the 2014 winners:

Carol Ann Bradley - Inspiring Potential and Promise

Carol Ann Bradley has dedicated herself to service both locally and globally. She has worked with Global Camps Africa, the Friends of the Reston Regional Library, the Embry Rucker Community Shelter and the Southgate Community Center. 

Bradley has also served on the board of the Reston Community Center and the American Association of University Women, as well as establishing the mentoring organizations The Links, Inc. and Educators, Then, Now and Forever. 

"Her quiet, consistent presence inspires children to reach for their dreams and gives confidence to adults who need a helping hand," Kerrie Wilson, executive director of Cornerstones. 

Jerry Ferguson - A Shining Spotlight

As a talented filmmaker, Jerry Ferguson is known for using his considerable skills to highlight local nonprofits. 

He is currently the director of Development and Outreach for Fairfax Public Access, which provides, TV and radio cablecasting services to the county and beyond. 

Outside of his work with Fairfax Public Access, Ferguson has filmed produced videos for FACETS, Leadership Fairfax, the Vienna/Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones. 

"There is great power in a moving story. To inspire others to think and and act, and that is why we congratulate the man behind the camera" said Judy Redpath, the chair of the selection committee.

Cate Fulkerson - Reston Through and Through

Cate Fulkerson first began serving Reston as part of the Reston Association's tennis program, and has since climbed the ladder in various positions before being named to her present role, CEO of the RA. 

Fulkerson demonstrates leadership in the community well outside her professional work. She also serves as the board chair for the Reston CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, chairs the annual Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce's Ethics Day for South Lakes High School and is an Emerging Leaders Institute Mentor. 

She has also chaired a number of committees at the Reston Community Center and the Community Associations Institute. 

"Reston's DNA is fully expressed in everything Cate Fulkerson undertakes," said Mark Ingrao, president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

Bonnie Haukness - Promoting and Preserving Reston's Culture

For more than 40 years, Bonne Haukness has been involved in many aspects of the Resotn community. She is a board member of the Reston Historic Trust and Reston Museum and chairs its annual fundraiser, the Reston Homes Tour. 

Each year's tour embraces a theme that is at the core of Reston, and the homes presented represent a diverse collection of fine decorating, environmentally friends features and diverse lifestyles. 

She also co-chairs the annual Capitol Steps performance to benefit Cornerstones, helps organize the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival at Reston Town Center, which benefits the Greater Reston Arts Center. 

She has also led the Friends of Reston's scholarship fundraising event to send children to Reston Association's summer day camp. 

"Bonnie knows that keeping Reston's story alive, sustaining the spirit through the arts and feeding the soul by sharing our resources are the most important building blocks for a strong community," Ingrao said. 

Davida Luehrs - Vision With a Heart

Despite being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, at the age of 28, the vision of Davida Luehrs has gone to enlighten the lives of many. 

Through her work with the Northern Virginia chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Sterling Lions, American Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired People of Reston, she has raised awareness across the community. 

She has assisted 14 Lions Clubs with their free hearing and vision screening program for pre-school children, founded VisionWalk, an event that has raised more than $1 million since 2007 and chaired Dining in the Dark fundraisers. 

She is also active in the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Herndon Middle School and High School band boards, Reston Swim Team Association, parent teacher associations, blood drives and meal delivery services for those in near. 

"With a passion for saving sight and a strong personal commitment to serving the community, Davida uses her life experience to serve others," said Judy Redpath, the chair of the selection committee. 

HomeAid Northern Virginia - Building a Community For All
Civic/Community Organization Leader

Members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Assotication started HomeAid in 2001 to help the homeless gain stability by putting a roof over their head. 

They currently contribute resources to build and renovate homeless shelters as well as transitional and affordable housing.

Since their founding, they have completed more than 70 projects and served more than 10,000 individuals, work valued at more than $10.5 million. 

"Their gift: building or making over shelter to make them a less dreary place for the people who are forced to be there for a short time, we hope," Wilson said. "They welcome them safely into homes that are attractive and welcoming as they start their new lives."

Brennan & Waite, P.L.C. - A Leading Passion For Giving Back
Small Business Leader

Founding members (and husband and wife) Matthew Brennan and Carol Waite have led their firm to support many local causes, including the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Habitat For Humanity, Let's Help Kids, the Mosaic Harmony Choir, FACETS and Cornerstones. 

Waite passed away at age 40 from ALS, and had an award named after her at the Optimist Club that is still given to local youth. 

Brennan has led the GRCC's Public Policy, Ethics Day and Taste of Reston committees, as chairing their board of directors. He has also volunteered to recruit candidates for Leadership Fairfax and funded scholarships to allow nonprofit leaders to participate. 

He also developed a training program to help those interested in serving on county and nonprofit boards. 

"Matt Brennan and his firm Brennan & Waite have remained true to its founding principle and passion for giving back," Ingrao said.

Cooley, LLP - A Culture of Changing Lives
Corporate Business Leader

Employees at Cooley, LLP are given every chance to give back, with paid leave time available to volunteer, as well as matching funds raised by its employees. Last year the firm contributed more than $1 million to nonprofits around the United States. 

The company's pro bono practice encourages its attorneys to give back, and their efforts have led to contributions of more than 33,000 hours by 466 attorneys on more than 687 different pro bono projects per year. 

"The employees at this business believe that giving back is more than a responsibility it is truly part of their corporate culture," Wilson said. 

More information on the Best of Reston event can be found here

Editors's Note: Reston Patch will be publishing in-depth profiles of each winner leading up to the April 10 Best of Reston event. If you have a story about any of the winners that you'd like to share, e-mail alex.mcveigh@patch.com

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Diane Lewis January 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Assume all of these 2014 winners are worthy individuals and businesses. However, those of us impacted by the Koch-funded Chamber of Commerce, must speak out against the decimation of our voting rights, our economic livelihoods, and the roofs over our heads and ask, "Where are the champions of the people?"


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