Richard A. Engberg
Richard A. Engberg

For the first time since I began writing about water for the Eccentric, I’m going to write about something else.  This article is about an organization in Loudoun County that I’ve developed enormous respect for over the last several years, The Loudoun Laurels Foundation.

On Friday, October 9th, I was privileged to attend my 6th Loudoun Laurels Banquet and Program.  This annual event which is the culmination of a year’s work by the Foundation has two purposes, 1) to honor Loudoun County residents, role models whose leadership and stewardship contributes to the quality of life in the County, and 2) to provide scholarships for worthy high school seniors.

A little background about the Foundation:  it was founded in 2008 and is an independent, non-profit honorary Foundation supported by a large number of organizations and individuals.  Those persons honored each year by the Foundation are given the title, “Loudoun Laureate” and become members of the Founders Committee from which nominations for laureate in subsequent years are received.

The Foundation’s college scholarship program began in 2013l  It provides up to $10,000 per year of financial support to two or more needy graduates from Loudoun County High

Schools.  These scholarships are renewable each year for four years.

At this year’s banquet, two outstanding citizens of the county, Cate Magennis Wyatt and J. Hamilton Lambert were honored, and presented as the Loudoun Laureates of 2015.  Three students were awarded scholarships. Joe May, recognized as a Laureate in 2010, and Dan Morrow, publisher of the Eccentric, served as Masters of Ceremonies.

Why am I writing about this organization and this event when it will be well covered by the Eccentric and other Loudoun outlets?  Because it gives me the opportunity to editorialize.  To me, the Loudoun Laureates and other people like them represent the best our Nation has to offer and it is right to honor them.  While people like the Laureates elsewhere in the state and the nation may not make national or even state headlines, they are the glue that holds our nation together.  In Loudoun County and elsewhere, they provide leadership and stewardship on a level that everyone in the county can observe and recognize, and I might add, appreciate.

For example, 2015 Laureate Cate Wyatt in 2005 founded the organization, Journey Through Hallowed Ground, an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting historic and national treasures in the area between Gettysburg and Monticello.  Journey’s headquarters is located in Loudoun County.  J. Lambert in 1990 became Executive Director of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation.  Originally endowed with $17 million, under his leadership, it has given grants amounting to three times the original endowment.  Wyatt and Lambert truly deserve the honor.

Earlier Laureates have been recognized for a variety of contributions to the county.  History, education, volunteerism all are recognized as part of their legacies.  Without the dedication of Loudoun Laureates and the leadership  of similar dedicated individuals  throughout the long history of Loudoun County, I daresay that the County would not be the wonderful place to live that it is now.  I applaud the Loudoun Laurels Foundation and its Stewardship Trust for recognizing outstanding leadership in the county and for assisting through the scholarship program, our future leaders.

PS.  I’ve got to say something about water.    Did you know that humans can survive for only about three days without water?  It’s true!