Marlene W. Blum
Like many activists, Marlene W. Blum of Vienna got started in the local PTA at her childrens' school during the 1970s. From there she rose to president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs.
Since then, Blum, 60, has branched out to the human services area. "Once you get involved with schools, if you are paying attention you see that it is all interconnected," Blum said.
Less fortunate county residents often work several jobs and do not have the time or resources to take on the advocacy work for themselves, she said, so "it's up to the rest of us to see that these people get the services they need."
"Most of us who are active get a lot out of it, perhaps more than we put in," she continued. "Our lives are enriched by it."
John T. Fee
By day, John T. Fee of Fairfax works for the U.S. tax court. The rest of the time, he puts in long hours for the community.
Fee, 55, a former president of the Middleridge Civic Association, has helped organize a scholarship program for area high school students and served as chairman of the Braddock District Council of Community Associations. He is drawn to activism by the people: "There is an enormous satisfaction that you get from working with some of these people."
Lately, though, he joked that his loyalties are torn. After a 22-year wait on the Washington Redskins season ticket list, Fee's name finally came up and many Sundays are devoted to football.
"It's difficult now that I've got my Redskins tickets. I'm conscious of my limitations," he said.
Lyle C. "Chet" McLaren
On summer nights, you'll find 80-year-old Lyle C. "Chet" McLaren at Lake Accotink Park, where he is the master of ceremonies at the Braddock Nights concerts.
McLaren has been in the spotlight more than 40 years in the North Springfield and Annandale areas, a bit surprising for someone who considers himself "more of an introvert than an extrovert."
Participating in the community helps McLaren overcome that shyness. "I get to meet a lot of really nice people," said McLaren, who has been PTA president at Annandale and North Springfield high schools.
Still, McLaren said, there can be contentious moments between community do-gooders.
Sometimes during those moments, McLaren said, he will say to himself, "What am I doing? Duck! Get out!" But so far he has always stayed in there.
Fred C. Morin
When Fred C. Morin of Springfield joined the county Water Authority board in 1961, the agency had about 12,000 customers who used about 2 million gallons of water a day. Today, the authority has about 211,000 customers and produces 131 million gallons a day.
Morin, 79, was the water board chairman for 33 years until becoming chairman emeritus last year. The agency's offices are in a building named after Morin.
A retired civil engineer and Navy officer during World War II, Morin described the calling to public service as a deeply felt obligation. He said he could not have sacrificed his time without the support of his wife, son and two daughters.
"You see something that needs to be done," he said. "And then you realize you'll be the one who probably needs to do it."
Except for two years at Cornell and an Army stint during World War II, historian and former CIA intelligence officer Mayo Stuntz, 87, has lived in Vienna since he was born there.
When he could see well, Stuntz was chairman for 15 years of the Sully Foundation, which was created to assist in the preservation of Sully Plantation. He has been the president of Flint Hill Cemetery for 44 years, has served on Vienna's history commission since 1969 and the county history commission since it was formed in 1978.
He also helped his wife, Connie, write three books on local and state history; both recently were named Vienna citizens of the year.
In his later years, Stuntz developed macular degeneration, which has left him legally blind, though he can read and write with the help of specially designed closed-circuit television. Inspired by another local support group for the blind, Stuntz recently helped to found the Visually Impaired Person group in Vienna to help people such as himself. Such initiative is synonymous with Stuntz.
"A job needs to done, and maybe I can do it," he said.
Thomas B. "Bo" White Jr.
He calls himself one of many squeaky wheels who has fought for improvements at county parks. Thomas B. "Bo" White Jr., 76, of Annandale helped start a horticultural program at Green Springs Park in Alexandria and was a leader in the successful effort to restore the historic Clark farmhouse off Columbia Pike.
White, a retired Marine, served on the county Park Authority board for 13 years and is a past president of the county Federation of Civic Associations.
"I saw the enjoyment other people got out of the parks," he said of the motivation for his activism. "I love the community I live in."
-- C. Woodrow Irvin