Appreciation: recognizing some key individuals who served the Mount Vernon community
Three individuals with ties to the Mount Vernon area were in the news in the past week-and-a-half. The following is some recognition for all of them.
Passing of former Mount Vernon Planning Commissioner Earl Flanagan
Former Mount Vernon Planning Commissioner Earl Flanagan passed away May 29. Flanagan served for nearly a dozen years on the Fairfax County Planning Commission, from 2006 to 2018. At the time of his retirement from the commission, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck credited him with being involved in “every major task force and community planning and land use decision in Mount Vernon, including leading the effort to create the vision for the adaptive reuse of the Lorton prison. Among his many other positions over the years, Flanagan also served as the co-chair and the transportation chairman of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens' Associations (MVCCA). He was named Lord Fairfax of the Mount Vernon District, Mount Vernon District Citizen of the Year, and in 2020 had a street named after him off Sky View Drive in Woodlawn.
MVCCA Co-Chair Katherine Ward credited Flanagan with helping stop the installation of “unsightly and land-grabbing cell towers” in school yards and neighborhoods, ensuring that less noticeable distributed antenna systems became the norm instead. She described him as “great to work with and always willing to provide citizens with the information they needed to understand issues before them.”
Mark Viani, an attorney who serves as president of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, described Flanagan as “a good guy, a lifelong community servant and someone who lived an incredible life.” That life included serving with the Army in World War II and helping liberate a concentration camp and secure the famous Lipizzaner stallions, said Viani.
In the June 2023 Mount Vernon District Advisor, Storck said Flanagan “truly helped shape our district” and that “he will be missed by all.”
Resignation of United Community President and Chief Executive Officer Alison DeCourcey
In a May 30 email to friends and supporters, United Community Board Chair Thomas Curcio announced that Alison DeCourcey would be resigning as president and chief executive officer after more than six years of service.
Curcio credited DeCourcey with elevating the impact of the nonprofit on the community it serves, building a strong leadership team and successfully guiding the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic, when its food pantry experienced a more than 300% increase in demand.
For her part, DeCourcey — who plans to spend more time with family — thanked her team, board of directors and community members for their support over the years. “Working on behalf of this community has been one of my greatest honors,” she said.
DeCourcey’s last day will be June 30, said Curcio, and United Community’s Chief Operating Officer Bryant Rice will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
Award for Fairfax County nurse with Mount Vernon District ties
On May 25, the Fairfax County Health Department announced
that the 2023 Nurse of the Year, Nathalie Washington, was named the Virginia Department of Health’s Northern Virginia Regional Winner. She was recognized for her work in organizing 130 COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Fairfax County’s homeless population and her contributions to an article on vaccine coverage.
During her early nursing education, Washington worked at the Mount Vernon District Office as part of her public health rotation. She later returned there as a public health clinic nurse, having found a passion for how preventative and population health can impact the broader community. Now, nearly 20 years later, she is one of four nurse practitioners who provide services to Fairfax County’s homeless population.