Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


 Every June, the members of the Board of Supervisors have the pleasure of naming outstanding residents as their district’s Lord and Lady Fairfax. The recognition commemorates the original Lord Fairfax, for whom the county is named, as well as community service performed by local residents over many years. The “Lords and Ladies,” as they are known familiarly, will be honored at the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday morning, and will return to the Government Center for a celebratory dinner Tuesday evening, in advance of Celebrate Fairfax!, the county’s annual fair extravaganza, this weekend.

For Mason District’s Lord and Lady Fairfax, this year I have selected two longtime volunteers whose names may not be readily familiar, but who both do outstanding work to ensure that the relationship between residents and their police department is positive and encouraging – Ben Hester and Sue Hotto.

Ben Hester chairs the Mason Police Station Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), providing input and advice to the station commander, as well as the Chief of Police, on behalf of residents who receive police services from the Mason Station. The monthly CAC meetings often are standing room only! Ben is a 2007 graduate of the Citizens Police Academy, and also is a very engaged member of the Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club, where he is chairman of the Fundraising Committee. Ask him about the annual Classic Mustang Car drawing, and he’ll sell you a ticket! Ben is an organizer – the Technology Summit at James Lee Center, the Thanksgiving Food Basket Delivery Program, and the toy drive from the Police Department’s Santa Ride – all have benefited from Ben’s expertise as a dedicated volunteer, and Mason District’s Lord Fairfax for 2012.

Sue Hotto chairs the Franconia Police Station Citizens Advisory Committee (the Mason Magisterial District is served by the Mason, Franconia, and West Springfield Police Districts; many of Mason District’s Alexandria and Springfield ZIP codes are patrolled by the Franconia Station). She was invited to join the Bren Mar Park Neighborhood Watch more than 20 years ago, and her activities blossomed. Sue’s participation as a Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) has led to many assignments within the department. Perhaps Sue’s greatest claim to fame is the annual National Night Out celebration in her Bren Mar Park community, which has grown from a handful of neighbors to hundreds of neighbors and police personnel who show up for Sue’s spectacular brand of hospitality. When asked why she volunteers, she says the answer is simple: “My mom instilled in me the importance of being involved and giving back to the community.” Mom would be proud to know that Sue is Mason District’s Lady Fairfax for 2012.

The 31st Annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival will be held on the grounds of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, June 8 through 10. For information about times and tickets, log onto www.celebratefairfax.com.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov