Around Mason District this week, thousands of families will give thanks for the many blessings our community enjoys. Whether long-time residents or newcomers, family time around the traditional Thanksgiving table provides an opportunity to reflect on past successes and look forward to new challenges. Here are a few successes you might not have considered:
· Jasleen Corrie and Susie Lotharius have contributed time and talent to greatly improve Munson Hill Park, a 2.2 acre community park near Glen Carlyn Drive. For the past few years, Jasleen and Susie have organized surrounding neighborhoods and civic associations for spring and fall park clean-ups. Volunteers regularly bag trash, remove dead limbs, and rake leaves in the park. As a result of their advocacy, the Park Authority removed old play-ground equipment and replaced it with new apparatus and fresh pavement. Benches and fencing have been installed, and a new rubberized play surface will soon be completed. Munson Hill Park now is an appealing neighborhood amenity. Working hand-in-hand with the Park Foundation, Jasleen and Susie organized a fundraiser at the park in April, featuring plant sales by Merrifield Garden Center. Proceeds are being used for additional park improvements. For their volunteer work at Munson Hill Park, Jasleen and Susie were present-ed with the 2007 Elly Doyle Park Service Special Recognition Award at cere-monies last Friday night. Congratulations to Jasleen and Susie!
· The Vietnam Wushu of Shaolin Martial Arts School celebrated its 17th anniversary on Sunday at the James Lee Community Center. Under the leadership of Director Mai Anh Tran and Head Instructor Peter Dao, the school provides weekly tuition-free classes for young people at the Willston Center that promote Vietnamese traditional values as well as self-discipline and confidence. Those attributes were readily observed in demonstrations as boys and girls from early elementary school through high school performed kick-boxing, dragon and other forms of karate, stick and knife routines, and Indian yoga exercises. Oh yes, a couple of students also broke boards with their feet! Congratulations to the Vietnam Wushu of Shaolin Martial Arts School for providing values education, fine role models, and good decision-making to our young people for nearly two decades!
· Annandale resident Luta “Cornie” McGrath is celebrating her 100th birthday this week. Neighbors in Sleepy Hollow Woods threw her a big party on Saturday, and the affection for their long-time neighbor and centenarian was readily apparent. We should all be so lucky at age 100 – Cornie still drives herself to church and the beauty parlor, lives independently, and her military background shows in her erect bearing, at least as tall as her five foot, two inch height will allow! Cornie’s remarkable history includes wartime service in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and one of the first females in the Ordnance branch. Cornie retired as a Lt. Colonel and has been active in the effort to build a memorial to women’s military service at Arlington National Cemetery. Happy 100th Birthday to Cornie McGrath!
· For many years, members of the American Legion Bicentennial Post 1976 in Annandale have conducted ceremonies commemorating federal holidays important to veterans and our country – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day – at the cannon in Annandale. Under the leadership of Post Commander Marv Rodney and many previous commanders, the American Legion provides an opportunity for the community to remember the service and sacrifice of our military that allows us to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners in peace and tranquility here at home in Mason District. Happy Thanks-giving!