Horn and Morton Awarded Loudoun Laurels
Retired Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne and the dean of Loudoun County’s active journalists, Margaret Morton were honored by the Loudoun Laurels Foundation at their ninth annual medal-presentation ceremonies held on September 30 at Belmont Country Club in Ashburn.
The Laurels seek out, honor and record for history the stories of outstanding individuals whose life and work represent significant contributions to the history of Loudoun County and to the well being of its citizens.
Recorded in the Leesburg library of Nobel Laureate, Secretary of State and General of the Army George C. Marshall, their stories become part of the permanent research collection on the history of Loudoun County held in trust for future generations by Leesburg’s Thomas Balch Library, itself a renowned repository of genealogical and historical records.
When Chief Judge Thomas D. Horne retired from the bench in 2013 he was Virginia’s longest serving Circuit Judge. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, he attended the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at William and Mary
He received his JD in 1969, just in time to see service as a Marine Corps lawyer in Vietnam. He was assigned his first case, a murder trial under the most difficult of circumstances, soon after arriving in country.
After serving as Loudoun’s Commonwealth Attorney from 1980 to 1982 he was appointed to the bench and served there with distinction for the next 31 years.
He played a leading role in the establishment of the 20th Judicial Circuit’s annual Law Camp for high school students, now named in his honor. He was similarly active in the establishment of the Loudoun County Legal Aid society and the County’s Drug Court program. He is an active preservationist and student of history. A football and lacrosse player from his youth, the mountain climbing Judge Horne is also credited with bringing organized lacrosse to Loudoun.
Journalist Margaret Morton is a 1958 graduate of Edinburg University with a keen interest in history. In 1966 she moved to Loudoun, to live in Waterford with her new husband, historian, preservationist, and later Epispocal priest, W. Brown Morton III. There she and Browne played leading roles in the efforts to preserve and protect a village and its surrounding fields in what is now officially a national treasure. In addition to her ongoing efforts in support of preservation and conservation projects all over the county, she has served on the county’s first Historic District Review Committee and for year on the Board of the Waterford Foundation.
In 1992 she joined the staff of Leesburg Today as a journalist. Last year she became one of the founding members of the staff of Loudoun Now. She is especially revered for her dedicated and professional coverage the small towns of western Loudoun, all too often ignored by the press, and for the wit, style, directness and objectivity of her writing.
Also honored at the September 30 event were the program’s four new Loudoun Laurels scholarship recipients, each awarded four-year, $10,000-per-year scholarships to a Virginia college or University.
They are: Dominion High School’s Ngozi Akingbesote, now attending the University of Virginia; Jenae Barnes of Briar Woods High School, now attending Northern Virginia Community College; and Sumeet Saini, also of Briar Woods, now attending Christopher Newport University. All three were awarded scholarships presented in honor of 2015 Laureate J. Hamilton Lambert. The fourth scholar honored, Diana Tinta of Woodgrove High School is attending the University of Virginia as a Wyatt Family Scholar.