A bit of Tinseltown-style flair came to Lake Ridge last month as the Prince William County Walk of Fame was unveiled at the Tackett’s Mill shopping center. The fledgling landmark doesn’t have the long history of the more famous walk in Hollywood, but its supporters are excited about celebrating local luminaries.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame dates to the 1950s, according to its website, walkoffame.com, and is a product of the town’s chamber of commerce. An average of 24 pop-culture figures are honored with stars each year, and ceremonies commemorating the big moments are streamed live online.
The Prince William walk, on the other hand, has been identifying honorees only since 2003, and for years, it didn’t have a permanent home. Plans call for adding five people to its rolls in October, which would make for a total of 25 notable names.
Bill Evans, a graphic designer from Dale City, launched the monument to honor residents who have contributed to the county’s quality of life. While visiting the graves of relatives and in-laws, he realized that unless memorial markers detail a person’s accomplishments, passersby can’t fully appreciate their lives.
You see the names, he said last week, “but they don’t mean anything to you.”
So he decided there should be a lasting, public way to communicate the significance of prominent Prince William residents, and a ceremony naming individuals to the county walk of fame became a featured part of the New Dominion Choraliers’ annual SerenAid benefit concert.
Evans, 78, is a member of the singing group and the Woodbridge Rotary Club, and he persuaded the organizations to partner on the walk project. The concept was to create a temporary display to set up at community events until a permanent memorial could be established.
Walk honorees, chosen each year through 2009, include civic leaders such as Cecil Hylton, a developer and philanthropist, and A.J. Ferlazzo, a physician, county supervisor and onetime owner of the Potomac News newspaper.
Without a fixed location for the walk, though, interest in the monument fizzled, and no more honorees were named.
A little more than a year ago, Nancy Kyme, the chief financial officer of the Clearbrook Foundation, made a presentation to the Woodbridge Rotary Club about an arts center that Clearbrook is developing at Tackett’s Mill.
Kyme met Evans and, upon learning about the walk of fame, told him she wanted to bring it to the eastern Prince William shopping center. She said last week that the civic exhibit answers the question “Who are these people that built this area?”
Kyme contracted Evans for the project, and they planned to place granite plaques at Tackett’s Mill for previous honorees and those to be selected in the future. For Evans, it was the realization of a longtime goal.
The plaques are spread over three locations at the shopping center, but a key part of the installation plan is to put them in stanchions around the lake there.
Clearbrook and the Tackett’s Mill Foundation joined the New Dominion Choraliers and the Woodbridge Rotary Club in sponsoring the walk of fame, and the decision was made to celebrate new walk honorees at a revitalized SerenAid banquet Oct. 20 at Old Hickory Golf Club.
A committee of 13 people from the community chooses the honorees each year based on their visibility within and contributions to the county, Evans said.
This year’s honorees are former state senator Charles J. Colgan; David Brickley, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the former director of the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation; Prince William County Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco); Woodbridge dentist Richard G. Tami; and Trevor Blake, an 11-year-old boy who created a nonprofit to give toys to sick children before he lost his battle with cancer.
Trevor’s memorial is already in place, as are the plaques for seven previous honorees.
One of those markers commemorates the life of G. Richard “Rick” Pfitzner, a former county supervisor for whom the Potomac Nationals’ minor-league baseball stadium is named.
Pfitzner’s widow, Mary, said last week that the walk of fame is a lovely way to celebrate her late husband’s work in the community.
For more information about the Prince William County Walk of Fame or the Oct. 20 SerenAid concert, email email@example.com.