Voting for the Caps Community Leader has now closed.
Antoinette Cordova is an ideal D.C. community leader because of her love, dedication and strong work ethic. Annette takes time to educate children and college students about making an impact in cancer research by opening them up to the world of scientific research. Her fundamental “three E’s” to success are to excite, educate and encourage the children and students she mentors. From looking under a microscope at cancer cells to teaching them the chemistry behind developing a drug to treat cancer, the children are awe-inspired by her youth and her passion for research, but most importantly that she cares for science and for them. Antoinette makes careers as scientists, doctors and researchers tangible for anyone.
Jennifer Day is a kindergarten teacher at Halley Elementary School in Lorton, Va. Over the past eight years Jennifer has been a model teacher, setting the bar for educators everywhere by demonstrating leadership by living a simple moral code of kindness in the workplace and by demonstrating that hard work and determination ultimately lead to success. She earns the love and respect of the students she teachers and praise from their parents. She seeks humility and modesty in all things. Although she may not realize it, hockey, the Washington Capitals and Jennifer Day all have a common bond: they all demonstrate the simple fact that leadership comes in various forms, whether outspoken or through deeds alone. Jennifer proves to many that leadership ultimately does come in many forms, and she chooses the humble one like so many Capitals players. Goals, assists and hits are all nice things on paper, but the admiration of your coworkers or your teammates seems to be a lasting bond that stays solid, even when stats and trophies have faded away.
Timothy Evans is a police officer in Fairfax County, Va., who absolutely loves working with and for the public. Every day he strives to make a difference in somebody’s life and to be a positive impact in the community. Tim has recently been awarded the "Life Saving Award" for his attempt to save a human life. He is currently working on becoming a Volunteer EMT. Tim’s need to help the community reaches further then his job and is he is always committed to helping anyway he can. Tim not only is a community leader but a huge Caps fan! He often uses the love for hockey and the Capitals to interact with the people he comes in contact with on and off the job. His "man cave" is full of Caps gear and memorabilia. Tim is only 24 years old but has already become a big impact on the community in which he works and lives.
Jillian Gardner is a mother of four young children and currently serves as the president of the MOMs Club of Annandale, a group she joined when she moved to the area more than five years ago. She works tirelessly in the Annandale community to enrich the lives of the children and mothers in her area through her dedication to and participation in the MOMS Club. She has served on multiple committees, leading a variety of Club activities. The Club brings together a community of mothers and children that sponsors weekly activities including children's craft programs, charity drives, play dates, music events, and social occasions and supports the member moms with friendship and loads of parenting tips. Jillian brings an energy and enthusiasm that is unsurpassed to her role as president by organizing events, communicating information to members, reaching out to new area residents. Most importantly, she is heavily involved in community service. She has assembled bags for moms who were affected by the Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, participated in a Stop Hunger Now event at a local church and has put together boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Jillian also cooks meals for moms who have new babies or whose family is going through difficult times and need meals. Jillian is an amazing, selfless woman who continues to give and help others without being asked for anything in return.
I would like to nominate Fairfax County Firefighter/Medic Billy Harrington as a community leader. Originally from Minnesota, he is a Marine that served during the end of the Golf War and now serves his community as a Firefighter and Paramedic. Between the past and present, he has helped coach and mentor youth hockey players of all ages, coached high school and junior hockey, and helped operate a non-profit inline hockey organization in Chantilly, VA. Billy is a member of the local 2068 (Fairfax Co Professional Firefighters) and elected by his peers to the Fairfax County Employee Advisory Council where he represents all uniformed fire employees; fighting for better pay, benefits, and assisting with grievances. Billy also volunteers his time at a local school by assisting in the clinic and presenting at Career Day. Billy is the Manager and Captain of the Fairfax Fire Hockey Team. The team plays and organizes many different events, helping raise money for charities such as the DC Burn Foundation and NOVA Cool Cats Special Hockey. Billy also assists the MDA every year in their "fill the boot" campaign by collecting money at the end of each day and handing out snacks and water to those out collecting; this is in addition to on the street collecting himself. Billy also attends many other local events where he assists in cooking food, setting up, cleaning up, and even motivating the crowd. Billy's compassion and commitment, family sacrifice, dedication to his community, and love for hockey; all make him a great nomination for the "jersey off our back".
Colonel (Ret.) David Lucia has dedicated his post-military life to making lives better for special needs children as the Head Coach of the Montgomery Cheetahs. He became involved in the program while still serving on active duty in the Air Force. His son David has been a member of the Cheetahs hockey team for the past five years. David has given so many different families a new sense of the word teamwork. Along with other coaches and volunteers, David has taught kids with varying degrees of disability life lessons that they will be able to rely on for the rest of their lives.
Kate Peditto is only 19 years old, but as a George Washington University sophomore she has already made her mark on Washington, D.C. She was a 2012 recipient of the GW Public Service Grant for her success in local social entrepreneurship, which she was awarded for founding a new D.C. high school mentorship program called Ladies of Science in the City. The program pairs 20 female GW engineering students with 20 female students at McKinley Tech High School in D.C., with the intention of using mentorship to encourage young women to matriculate to four-year college programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and reduce the discrepancy between males and females in STEM careers. This idea grew as a result of her experience with D.C. Public Schools. Last year she was the assistant lacrosse coach at School Without Walls High School and was a trip leader for McKinley Tech during GW's Freshman Day of Service. She was shocked by the lack of educational and extracurricular support, especially for minorities (including females), and decided to take action. Now, she is a finalist for Miss District of Columbia, competing in June, using Ladies of Science as her platform.
Sharon Strange has worked extremely hard over the past two years to create a new therapy dog group, Rappahannock Area Comfort Canines (RACC) in Stafford, Va., all while commuting more than three hours daily to her full-time job, dabbling in photography, getting her brother and niece hooked on the Caps, and spending time with local family members. RACC visits hospitals, retirement homes, disaster areas, schools and participates in local public awareness events (Wounded EOD Warriors, Kid Zone, United States Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon). Sharon is also a registered therapy dog team with her dog, Jewel. When she volunteers, it is the only time she feels relaxed, and she always shares with others how she has learned from a patient or Jewel that day. Whether it's how Jewel comforted a patient just receiving devastating cancer news, or snuggling up to a child visiting his grandfather in the hospital, she truly makes a difference in the community. Sharon and Jewel, along with another therapy dog team, were recognized in the local mall one day by the daughter of a patient who had made a special request for a dog visit. Sharon continually looks for ways to increase RACC's assistance and presence in the community.