The sun was shining brightly across the ponds at Green Spring Gardens as family and friends of Airman 1st Class Jason Kenneth Duvall dedicated a gazebo in his memory on June 16. Jason often visited Green Spring Gardens while growing up. According to his mother, Sally, he fed the geese as a toddler, and as a teenager often met up with friends at the park. After graduation from Annandale High School, Jason attended the Virginia Military Institute, then joined the Air Force and became a loadmaster on a C-130 cargo plane based at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
In comments to the assembled crowd on that bright morning, Fairfax County Park Authority Board member Frank Vajda, himself a retired Air Force officer, noted that a loadmaster is one of the most important members of a C-130 crew. Whether it’s a plane-load of Army tanks or cotton balls, how the cargo is loaded, balanced, and accounted for may make the difference in a successful mission. The pilot cannot take off until the loadmaster signs off on the job and gives the go-ahead to the flight crew.
Jason only lived to be 23 years old, but he understood the importance of giving back to his community and making the world a better place, values he learned from his parents, Kenneth and Sally Duvall, longtime residents of Lincolnia Park in Mason District. When Jason died, his family, including sisters Jill and Jennie, chose to memorialize his life in things that were very important to him. Annandale United Methodist Church, where Jason was an acolyte and crucifer, received new hymnals and video equipment. A stone entrance sign for the Lincolnia Park Recreation Club, a memory garden at a nursing home, a four-wheel vehicle to the Appalachian Service Project, and funding for the off-leash dog area at Mason District Park are examples of his family’s generosity.
At the time the Duvall family approached Green Spring Gardens with the idea for a memorial gazebo, the park was planning major renovations in the pond and stream area, so the new gazebo was incorporated into the plan. A small promontory surrounded by boulders was built into the westernmost pond and the natural wood gazebo was constructed on a textured concrete base. The nephew Jason never met, Matt, captivated the audience at the dedication as he darted among the shrubs that soften the hardscape at water’s edge. It was little Matt who unveiled the plaque at the entrance to the gazebo:
In Memory of
AlC Jason Kenneth Duvall
C-130 Loadmaster, USAF
By His Family and Friends
Jason Duvall probably never imagined the influence his young life would have on his community. Beset by a grievous loss, the Duvall family’s extraordinary generosity is a reminder that our community, our environment, and our shared values are lasting legacies to be celebrated by all, old and young alike.
To visit Jason’s gazebo and see in Green Spring Gardens what Jason loved, enter Green Spring Gardens from the Braddock Road entrance onto Witch Hazel Road, and park near the Manor House. A short walk down the path to the west of the historic house will lead you past the spring house. Turn right onto the path leading to the ponds. Enjoy!