Reston Gathers To Honor Its Own

"Best of Reston" awards citizens for service to the community.

Reston's business and social services community gathered to to honor some of the community's best examples of philanthropy at its 20th annual Best of Reston Awards on Thursday.

Nearly 800 people filled the ballroom, where a record $420,000 was raised for  The awards are sponsored by Reston Interfaith and the

Because it was the 40th anniversary of the Reston nonprofit, past Best of Reston winners reflected on how far the community has come since it raised $28,000 at its first gala in 1992.

"It is simply in your DNA to help the community," said real estate developer Casey Veatch, the event's co-chair.

"Businesses that have located here have done so because of a sense of place," said co-chair Karen Cleveland. "Reston is not just another office park."

Cleveland and her husband, Jim Cleveland, one of Reston's original developers, were honored with the 2011 Robert E. Simon Award for Community Service for their long record of community service.

The couple has been instrumental, among other things, in the founding of Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, YMCA of Fairfax County Reston, Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston Community Center, Reston's Nature House, Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Leadership Fairfax and the Initiative for Public Art-Reston.

Also honored with the Robert E. Simon award was Priscilla Ames, one of Reston's original residents who helped found everything from Reston's first grocery store to Common Ground Child Care Center and Reston Interfaith programs.

"Priscilla took care of Restonians when they had any kind of a problem," Simon reflected in a video tribute. 

The rest of the night was about honoring the individual and business honorees. They are:

* Sandy Amato, for nourishing the community. Amato is a dedicated volunteer for Reston's underprivileged children. Among Amato's many projects is starting Helping Hungry Kids, a program that prepares weekend meal packages for more than 2,000 students during the school year.

* Beverly Ann Cosham, Reston's voice of the arts. Cosham, an acclaimed singer who has been a  Reston resident since the mid-1960s, is founding member of The and longtime board member of the, among other service to arts organizations.

* Patricia Nicoson, for her roles in planning Reston's future. Nicoson is the president of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, and the chair of Reston's Master Plan Special Study Task Force.

* Lindsay Trout, for her leadership at Trout, a 1991 graduate of the school has been a teacher and now assistant principal at the school since 1995. Trout specializes in guiding and mentoring students and has rallied them to support other students in need, such as raising more than $20,000 for a student suffering from cancer and nearly that much to aid the family with funeral costs for a student killed in a traffic accident.

* Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Foundation  (Civic Community Organization) - a local nonprofit that has given $135,000 in college scholarships to underprivileged children.

* Maude Hair Salon (Small Business Leader) - This Herndon hair salon has given back to the community with several volunteer efforts, including a "No Mother Left Behind" program and hours devoted to Reston Interfaith and the

* Boston Properties (Corporate Business Leader) - This development company has more than 2.5 million square feet of office and real estate space in or near the Reston Town Center. It's executives and employees are also active in giving back to the community in many organizations such as the and the Initiative for Public Art-Reston.

Diane Lewis April 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Worthy awardees all, no doubt. However, does anyone else find it sad to live in a country where private philanthropy has to take care of those whom our society has trashed and thrown under the bus? The current contrast between the well-off and the disadvantaged is reminiscent of what I saw decades ago in the Far East....
Amanda Andere April 29, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Fairfax County and other state and federal agencies are great partners to many of these programs and hundreds of other nonprofits in our community. Of course more could be done, but we live in a community that is the envy of others for the amount of resources invested to help people in need. It does take a mix of public and private funds. I actually think more could be done by the private sector and the other purpose of this event is to inspire people to give back locally.
Friends of the Reston Regional Library April 29, 2011 at 07:03 PM
How are people and organizations nominated for these awards? Each year when they are announced I wonder what goes on behind the scenes in finding them...if they are just a small sample of the kinds of people who live in Reston, we are fortunate indeed.
Carolyn Lawson Low April 30, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Kelley - in September the Chamber of Commerce and Reston Interfaith put out a call for Nominations. Here's a link to this year's nomination form: http://www.restoninterfaith.org/uploads/Nominations201bor.pdf And I agree, our community is much richer because of these dedicated volunteers and organizations
Peggy April 30, 2011 at 11:04 AM
When Maude opened a few years ago, these wonderful women became role models for young women throughout this area: as small business owners, as beautiful, real women who don't look trashy-trendy but uniquely gorgeous as themselves, and as community leaders. They sought from the beginning to be "good neighbors" and have consistently engaged in one community enhancing or charitable act after another. If we all took their approach to community engagement while having fun and being succcessful, what a wonderful world it would be! Brava ladies!


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