April 9, 2019



Herndon, VA (April 7, 2019) – On Sunday, April 7, 330 volunteers were honored for their service to the Town of Herndon from 28 different service organization and groups. Each of these honorees contributed 100 hours or more of volunteer service in the community last year. The 35th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Reception was held at the Herndon Community Center.

Citizens joined Herndon’s Mayor, Lisa C. Merkel, members of the Town Council, and Representative Gerry Conolly, Virginia’s Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah, and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, in celebrating the spirit of volunteerism, and the theme, Celebrate Service. The keynote speaker was Debra Bressler, Program Director with the Retired and Senior Volunteer program in Loudoun County.

The Distinguished Corporate Service Award honors a business or corporation that has contributed to the Town through outstanding commitment to, or promotion of, the Town for the greater good of Herndon. Nominated by LINK, a non-profit that provides emergency food to thousands each year, the award was given to Griffin Owen Insurance Group who more than ten years ago, took over all the food deliveries during the month of December. This four day per week commitment requires coordination of delivery schedules with the families, picking up the food from the LINK pantry, driving to generally four homes per day, carrying the food inside and returning to the pantry. They also help recruit donations when the pantry runs low. Their long-standing volunteerism and compassion for their neighbors has a tremendous impact on the Herndon community.

Claire Jones was recognized as the Distinguished Teen Volunteer. A 9th grader at Herndon High School, Claire has contributed over 400 service hours since 2017 at events such as the Homecoming Parade, Passport to Fun, and Naturefest.  As a scout, she hosted the annual Girl Scout Thinking Day, ensuring that the multicultural event would continue for over 150 girls in 13 troops. Claire currently serves as Scribe and Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, as well as the primary social media coordinator.

The first Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mr. Carl Vassar who began volunteering with LINK in 1998 soon after retirement. He started first with the mattress program, and later became Assistant Pantry Manager, which paired well with his professional experience with the Food and Drug Administration. He ensures all deliveries are made, the shelves are re-stocked, recycling is properly disposed, of and volunteers are welcomed with a smile.

The second Distinguished Service Award was presented to Naila Alam. After surviving a life-threatening illness, Naila chose to dedicate herself to assisting others, especially immigrant families, and women/widows who were struggling with language barriers, financial hardships, and unfamiliarity in a new country. By founding the 501-C3 Express Care in 2003 with her spouse and sister, she was able to assist by providing translation services and English as a second language classes, skills training and job placement, thus aiding these women and families to become self-sufficient in their new country. Express Care also assists with clothing and household goods, groceries, driving instruction, over the counter medications, health care enrollment and preparation for the Citizenship exam.

The third Distinguished Service award was presented to Ms. Margaret Jamborsky. When two years ago the Herndon High School band was selected to perform at the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, Ms. Jamborsky began doing some research and upon learning the USS Herndon was the lead ship in the invasion at Omaha Beach on D-Day, she found the original muster roles, contacted 290 families of the 301 men serving aboard the ship that day, collected hundreds of photos of the men, paired students to crew members, guided students in preparing speeches, introduced students and veterans, and obtained videos from World War II survivors. She has shared the stories and built connections with the Herndon community, the students of Herndon High, the Historical Society, and the World War II veterans and their families.

The Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Reception is held annually in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, which has been celebrated for 44 years and is sponsored nationwide by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network.


The Town of Herndon Parks and Recreation Department is nationally accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and is a three-time National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in park and recreation management presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.  The Town of Herndon, located in western Fairfax County, is the third largest town in the Commonwealth and is home to more than 23,000 citizens.

The Town of Herndon was incorporated by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia on January 14, 1879. Located in western Fairfax County, Herndon is the 3rd largest town in the Commonwealth. Businesses located within the Town of Herndon, which range from high tech enterprises to entrepreneurially-owned establishments, employ approximately 23,500 people.

For more information, visit the Town’s website at, and click on parks and recreation, or call 703-787-7300.


Photo Herndon MVA 60: Left to right; Councilmember Bill McKenna, Supervisor John Foust, Councilmember  Pradip Dhakal, Vice Mayor Sheila Olem, Clair Jones,  Mayor Lisa Merkel , Senator Jennifer Boysko,  Debra Bressler, and Councilmember Jennifer Baker.


Photo Herndon MVA 69: Left to right; Supervisor John Foust, Mayor Lisa Merkel, Councilmember Bill McKenna, Carl Vassar, Councilmember  Pradip Dhakal, Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, Senator Jennifer Boysko, Debra Bressler, Vice Mayor Sheila Olem, and Councilmember Jennifer Baker.


Photo Herndon MVA 79: Left to right; Supervisor John Foust, Mayor Lisa Merkel, Councilmember Bill McKenna, Naila Alam, Councilmember Pradip Dhakal, Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, Vice Mayor Sheila Olem, Senator Jennifer Boysko, Debra Bressler, and Councilmember Jennifer Baker.


Photo Herndon MVA 88: Left to right; Supervisor John Foust, Councilmember Bill McKenna, Margaret Jamborsky, Mayor Lisa Merkel, Councilmember  Pradip Dhakal, Vice Mayor Sheila Olem, Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, Senator Jennifer Boysko, Debra Bressler, and Councilmember Jennifer Baker.




Abby Kimble

Marketing Specialist

Herndon Parks and Recreation Department

Herndon Festival

703-435-6800 x2104