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The 2nd Annual Privilege Award Event


On March 19, 2023, at the George Mason University Center of the Arts, the Bernie L. Bates Foundation formally recognized members of the Fairfax community whose gifts of time, expertise and resources are the cornerstones of their significant contributions to their not-for-profit agencies and institutions. Their acts and commitment to our community align with the tenets and principles practiced by Colonel Marion “Barney” Barnwell, United States Army (Retired) who, as a pillar in the Fairfax community, served as a community activist and demonstrated a history of community involvement and volunteerism.



The heroes that were honored did not work for the recognition. However, the work they’ve done in their organizations and our community made them worthy of this recognition.


Tap Play to Awards Ceremony quick recap video


Special attendees included:

· Mr. Amir Abu El-Hawa (Amair Abu El-ha-wah) , Deputy Chief of Staff for the Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

· Ms. Catherine S. Read (Mayor, City of Fairfax)

· Mr. William D. “Bill” Euille (Former Mayor, City of Alexandria)

· Mr. Anthony Mingo, Sr. (Division Director, Community Health Development, Fairfax County Health Department)

· Mrs. Patricia L. Klein (Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church Inc.)

· Mr. Sam Wiggins, (Chairman, Northern VA Black Chamber of Commerce)

· Dean, College of Science, Dr. Fernando R. Miralles-Wilhelm, and his lovely wife Mrs. Monica Miralles-Wilhelm

· Director of Development, College of Science – Ms. Audrey G. Kelaher

· Mrs. Jimmi Barnwell (Bro. Barney Barnwell’s spouse)

· Mr. Isaiah Barnwell Jr. (Bro Barney Barnwell’s cousin)

· Christopher Barnwell, COL USA Retired (Brother Barney Barnwell’s son)

· Jason Barnwell (Brother Barney Barnwell’s son)



Those recognized are listed below:


Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Mr. Bennie Herron

· Lead facilitator of the Dad’s Parenting classes which has played an integral role in helping more than 400 men in Fairfax County enhance their parenting and fathering skills, while promoting and celebrating the importance of fathers in Fairfax County.

· Serves as an Advisory Board Member for Tomorrow’s Black Men, Inc, a not-for-profit organization committed to developing young black males in preparation for adulthood.


Ft Belvoir Religious Support Office, Ms. Sara V. Simmons

· Serves as a mentor with College Bound, a non-profit organization offering academic enrichment resources to public and public charter school students.

· She also serves as a board member of the Georgetown University Institute of Transformational Leadership Network where she provides leadership as the volunteer organization transitions from a foundational to a structured board.


Gum Springs Community Center, Mr. Dan Moon

· He serves as a community volunteer, activist and Board member of the Gum Springs Advisory Board, Board Member of the New Gum Springs Civic Association, Board Member and Basketball Commissioner of the Gum Springs Youth Athletic Association.

· He served in many capacities from a student at the historical Dew Smith Elementary School, (now the Gum Springs Community Center) to supporting and leading civic engagement, youth development, sports, and recreation and much more.


Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Sheila Dixon

  • She assisted more than 2,000 business and non-profit business owners in the area through one-on-one consulting, experiential live group training, mini-mastermind sessions with local experts.

  • She is an accomplished and performance-driven executive who can be labeled as an enterprising change maker in our Northern Virginia Community

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church Inc, Mr. Lou Wood

· One of our most steady, skilled, and valued volunteers, helping local homeowners with critical home repairs from building wheelchair ramps to making essential modifications that allow these individuals to age-in-place in their own homes.

· Over the past year he overhauled and installed six stairlifts and assisted with three wheelchair ramps


Rx Catering DC Metro, Ms. Cheron Burns (President’s Privilege Award recipient)

· Ms. Burns has partnered with many different organizations to provide meals to first responders throughout the DMV. Her business has collaborated to provide over $20,000 in meals to support those providing critical services throughout the pandemic.

· Prepare and deliver more than 6,200 healthy meals to healthcare providers, homeless shelters, first responders, and breast cancer survivors and their families.

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