3/23: POLAR BEAR
3/30: REGIONAL PARK
4/6: WALTER MESS
4/13: DARRELL WINSLOW
4/21: OFF - Passover & Easter
4/27: CHARLIE BUTT - in Georgetown
5/4: VIRGINIA SCHOLASTIC ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS (LOWER BOATS)
5/11: VIRGINIA SCHOLASTIC ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS (UPPER BOATS)
Walter L. Mess was an American spy who ferried agents to and from secret missions in the China-Burma-India theater of World War II, in a speedboat he built himself. As a member of the highly selective (and highly dangerous) Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the international spy network that was the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mess and his tactical group saves thousands of lives, and he made a promise to himself that if he survived the war he would volunteer 50 percent of his time to improving his community.
He kept that promise starting in 1946, by helping the City of Falls Church acquire land for city streets, and made book cases for the library. Mess chaired the Falls Church Electoral Board for several years, introducing mechanical voting machines, and also helped found the Falls Church Festival to raise funds for playing fields. In addition to serving as president of the local chapters of the Heart Association and the Red Cross, in 1959 he became a founding member of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), serving as chairman for 30 years. When the W&OD Trail first opened in 1974, Mess oversaw its development, preserving 45 miles of old rail beds from Shirlington to Purcellville. He led the expansion of the NVRPA to encompass 19 parks, 10,000 acres, and hundreds of trails, while serving on the NVPRA board for 45 years. Part of that expansion was the acquisition of the 5,000-acre Occoquan Reservoir shoreline.
Darrell Winslow served as a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority for 28 years, 18 of them as the Executive Director. With service starting in 1966, for the next 30 years he oversaw creation of the regional parks at Bull Run, Occoquan, Algonkian, Hemlock Overlook, Upton Hill, Balls Bluff Battlefield, and even the development of our beloved rowing facilities at Sandy Run. He's also responsible for the awesome wave pool at Cameron Run Regional Park, the land for Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, and the Brambleton Golf Course.
Winslow helped develop the national reputation of the Fairfax County parks system, and has provided millions of residents with enjoyment and open space. He is considered to be one of the principal architects of NVRPA. Check out the Parks Blog HERE for more information about the remarkable contributions of Darrell Winslow to our county.
EDWARD 'TED' PHOENIX
Ted Phoenix was a decorated Vietnam and Persian Gulf veteran and a Commander in the United States Navy. After a 25-year military career, Phoenix helped develop the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service and Wireless Priority Service for SAIC with the Department of Homeland Security. In his personal time, Phoenix advocated and contributed to the growth of scholastic rowing in the greater Washington area. In 1983, he helped Potomac High School in Woodbridge grow its fledgling program, and his passion for supporting local rowing programs evolved to the regional level as he assumed leadership positions with the Northern Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association and its successor, the National Capital Area Scholastic Rowing Association (NCASRA)(which then became VASRA in 2008). At the time of his death in 2004, Phoenix was the president of NCASRA, on the Board of Directors of the Scholastic Rowing Association, and on the Board of Directors of USRowing. More information is HERE.
Charles Stahley "Charlie" Butt, Jr.
Charlie Butt started the rowing program at Washington-Lee High School in 1949, and was instrumental in developing high school rowing throughout the region during his 40+ years of coaching. Known as the Father of DC-area Rowing, he was named Washingtonian of the Year in 1979 & 1980 for his contributions to scholastic rowing programs and for his work not only at W&L but as a coach at Thompson Boat Center as well. He was instrumental in the creation of the Sandy Run rowing facility and in the development and improvements made over the years to Thompson. Butt believed that novice rowers were the key to a successful team and was always available to answer questions and explain his philosophies, and stated that through hard work and dedication, crew taught rowers important life lessons. More about Charlie Butt, his successes with his W&L teams, and his work with Northern Virginia rowing is HERE.
ALFRED 'AL' URQUIA
In 1997, the Northern Virginia Rowing Association (the precursor to VASRA) held the first regatta named for Colonel Alfred P. Urquia, at the Sandy Run Regional facilities developed by Darrell Winslow. NVRA cited Urquia's numerous contributions to the Virginia scholastic rowing community over the previous 30 years as the reason for the honor.
Affectionally known as "Col. Al," Urquia became associated with rowing in 1972 upon his return from a military assignment in Germany, having been introduced to the sport by his two children. In his over 30 years supporting high school rowing, he held various positions for the Northern Virginia Rowing Association including acting as President of the Association.