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The Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc., Inaugural Privilege Award Event

Thanks to the vision of the Foundation the Inaugural Privilege Award and Community Recognition Event proved to be a tremendous success. The event was held at George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for the Arts on March 13, 2022, from 4:00-6:30PM.

The event served two main purposes. First, to celebrate the life, legacy and endearment of Marion L. “Barney” Barnwell Director emeritus, friend, and servant to all. Secondly the event sought to provide a fitting occasion for several Fairfax County organizations Barney was affiliated with to recognize one of their own who most closely manifested the spirit of Barney Barnwell.

This event would not have been possible without the support and resources of Dean Fernando R. Miralles-Wilhelm and Ms. Audrey G. Kelaher of the university’s College of Science. They were more than partners in this endeavor, and we thank them for helping to ensure a setting that would best foster such a signature occasion. The event was first class and much appreciated by the Barnwell family along with those in attendance.

The program began with the GMU ensemble providing background music followed by welcome and introductions, invocation, the occasion, Affiliated Organizations Award Recognitions, Keynote Speaker, 2022 President’s Privilege Award Presentation, closing remarks, and benediction.

The affiliated organizations were New Hope Housing, Rebuilding Together, the Gum Springs Community Center, Fort Belvoir Chapel, and Alexandria City Schools. Barney Barnwell was an avid supporter of each of these organizations and we were honored to have each participate. Our enthusiastic hostess Mrs. Elizabeth Jones Valderrama and keynote speaker Mr. Ed Tate from Nevada were excellent bookends that bought distinction to the occasion. As a world renown public speaker Mr. Tate, a consultant to numerous Fortune 500 companies delighted the audience with his poise and power of speech.

Special recognition must go to the foundation’s Privilege Award Selection Committee: The Honorable William D. Euille, former Mayor of the City of Alexandria; Director Norris Middleton; and Mr. Leroy C. Latten. We would also like to extend special thanks to Directors Richard G. Morris and Marvin Chisolm. Each of whom served as a cog in the wheel of success their actions bought about.

Considered an inaugural event we look forward to 2023 and the next Privilege Award and Community Recognition Event. We hope this signature event will help ensure the long-lasting legacy of beloved Brother and friend, Director Marion L. “Barney” Barnwell; a man who gave a life of Christian Service and Brotherhood to our community by example and by deed.

He is loved, respected, and missed.


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