Local Civic Halls of Fame

I just had a guest commentary published in the Falls Church News-Press about setting up a “Falls Church Hall of Fame” in Cherry Hill Park:

When Albert Einstein was asked by the New York State Education Department about what schools should emphasize, he responded: “in teaching history, there should be extensive discussion of personalities who benefited mankind through independence of character and judgment.” The genius was right: We need role models to look both back and up to. As citizens, we need civic heroes to remind us how much can be achieved when we embody our communal values in the way we live our lives.

I, for one, was greatly influenced by my exposure to the work of Annette Mills and Dave Eckert, Falls Church civic heroes of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I remember as a kid hearing about and benefiting from their seminal help in so many tremendous Falls Church projects: the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, Watch Night, the Blues festival, the recycling program, their Tripps and Four Mile Run stream advocacy, the neighborhood tree program, Operation Earthwatch, and much more. Because I was exposed to their work, I was inspired to get more involved in Falls Church civic life in the hopes of being a tenth as civic as the couple who Tom Whipple once called, “F.C.’s Dynamic Duo.”

We cannot let the example of Falls Church civic heroes like Annette and Dave be lost to history. Our grandchildren should be exposed to the stories of citizens like Jessie Thackery, E.B. Henderson, Howard Herman and others. This is why I am calling upon our community to come together to create a permanent home for our Little City’s civic heroes: a Falls Church Hall of Fame. Just like how the mission of the Baseball Hall of Fame is to “preserve the sport’s history, honor excellence within the game and make a connection between the generations of people who enjoy baseball,” the Falls Church Hall of Fame’s mission will be to: “preserve the city’s history, honor excellence in civic action and character and make a connection between the generations of people who call Falls Church home.”

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