The past year for member organizations of the Inter-Service Club Council of Arlington has been decidedly different from any of the 79 that came before, but the core values of the organizations remain intact in the COVID-19 world.
The two dozen groups that comprise the Inter-Service Club Council (ISCC) are “part of Arlington’s service community and making a difference in the lives of so many,” outgoing council president Joe Lott said at the organization’s 65th annual meeting, held “virtually” (a first) on Nov. 18.
Lott said service organizations are relied on in the community to “speak the truth and be fair to all concerned.”
“We try and foster these ideals,” he said.
In a normal year, members of the organizations that make up the council contribute up to 100,000 hours of community service. That role is vital in providing Arlington with a social safety net, County Board Chairman Libby Garvey said in remarks at the hour-long program.
“When the pandemic hit, we didn’t have to start from scratch in Arlington,” Garvey said. “We have been depending on volunteer organizations and non-profits. Thank you for what you do.”
The Inter-Service Club Council serves as a central clearinghouse for service clubs (like the Optimists, Kiwanis and Zonta) and service organizations (the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and various non-profit organizations) that make up its membership.
“We have been around since 1940 – I’m not sure how many people actually know that,” said Lott, a member of the Arlington Rotary Club who previously had served a two-year term as council president, then was called back into leadership after the untimely death of ISCC president Brig Pari in early 2019.
(“It’s been a pleasure being president,” Lott said, but acknowledged he was happy to be turning over the post to Sandy Bushue, a member of the Optimist Club of Arlington.)
The annual meeting traditionally is held at Washington Golf & Country Club, but morphed into an Internet event for 2020. Yet several traditions persisted, including a contribution made by the council to the youth program of the Leadership Center for Excellence.
The funds are used to “expose young people to the needs of the community and ways they can be civically engaged,” said Lisa Fikes, executive director of Volunteer Arlington, operated by the Leadership Center.
Also at the event, Woman of the Year and Man of the Year awards were presented, continuing a tradition dating back to the 1950s.
CeeCee Evans, past president of the Arlington (Host) Lions Club, was named Woman of the Year for her leadership in the club and broader community, including backing of Doorways for Women and Families, Fisher House, her church, Fairfax County Crime Solvers and Community Residences.
“What a big surprise!” Evans said of the award. “I love serving, I love giving back whatever and however I can.”
(It was perhaps appropriate that a member of the Host Lions Club received the award during the 80th birthday of the Inter-Service Club Council. The council’s first president, George Grove, who served from 1940-41, was a member of the Host Lions.)
Walter Webdale, a member of the Arlington Rotary Club for more than two decades, was honored as the ISCC Man of the Year for his service within the club, and for a career of more than 50 years in providing affordable housing to those in need.
After having served as director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development from 1974-99, Webdale went on to serve as president of the Arlington-based non-profit provider AHC Inc., a position he continues to hold.
In brief remarks, Webdale noted that he was fortunate to come to work each day to a job whose main goal is to help those in need.
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