It’s the end of an era for central Springfield. On Tuesday night, more than a hundred residents, politicians and friends gathered at Crestwood Elementary School to honor Tawny Hammond for a decade of service as president of the Springfield Civic Association.
“I’m not standing for election this year,” Hammond said, wiping away tears. “I’m not quitting and I’m not retiring, because I don’t believe in those things. My faith and my community are tied and you don’t retire from things that are responsibilities and privileges.”
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) entered Hammond’s name in the Congressional Record. “I am pleased to tell you that this certificate of recognition had no opposition in the Congress. Congratulations, Tawny,” he said.
A Chicago native, Hammond moved to Springfield in 2000 after living in Falls Church for eight years. She is currently the park manager of Frying Pan Park, and from 1997 to 2009, managed central Springfield’s Lake Accotink Park. While president, Hammond frequently merged Accotink and community events, spearheaded the annual Springfield Days community celebration and worked to rid the community of boarding houses.
“When I started as president we had no newsletter, we had no website,” she said. “So, we made the community handbook in two different languages and distributed them to every household. We fought the boarding house problems and we’ve made significant progress. I think we’ve cleaned up some areas that were in really bad shape. And look at the attendance at this meeting.
“The challenges and the burdens were many and we were dealing with big stuff. The [Code Enforcement] Strike Team was born in our community… and some incredible things happened,” Hammond said.
Hammond is “exceptional”, said Sharon Bulova, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “Tawny has served as the ‘Mayor of Springfield’. She knows how to work effectively with elected officials and all levels of government to help resolve issues and assist people,” she said. “Tawny is also a lot of fun, and I think that’s an important ingredient in a leader. She has a sense of adventure, she’s inventive and always finds a solution to things.”
Hammond’s shoes will be hard to fill, said Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. “Tawny is a rock star of civic involvement in Fairfax County. She has a reputation countywide,” he said. "She’s built the civic association from nothing to the one that draws the largest crowd in my entire district. It’s a scary thought that she’s not going to be at the helm, but she’s told me that she’ll be heavily involved in Springfield and that’s the only silver lining in this.”
Bruce Waggoner is the new president of the Springfield Civic Association. “We are going to continue that momentum that Tawny has led us with,” he said. “It is a change, but I think we have a lot of leadership in this community.”
Hammond has been a Fairfax County Park Authority employee since 1989. “I’m going to stay very involved in Springfield Days and neighborhood watch and focus on some issues that are really important,” she said. "But sure, I’d be president again, if I think it was needed.”
The Board of Supervisors will recognize Hammond on Tuesday, May 24.