This Sunday, many of us gathered at the Harris Pavilion in honor of former Mayor Marvin Gillum. City Hall is to be named for Dr. Gillum, and a ceremony to commemorate this civic action included speeches of remembrance, musical selections from the Manassas Chorale, and the good community spirit that accompanies such events. It was a good outpouring of Manassas residents, as the new sign and historic plaque for the building up the street were unveiled. The event got me thinking about this city and those who have given so much to see this community thrive.
I had the honor of getting to know Mayor Gillum as a fellow member of the Development Committee for the Hylton Performing Arts Center. In addition, he was, of course, of help as we formed and started the not-for-profit Footsteps in Time. Why ‘of course’? Because, to the best of my knowledge, this fine southern gentleman was always of help.
Being dedicated to advancing the community is his legacy, and it is a legacy worth emulating. His was an era of civil dialogue in civil service. Being community minded, for the likes of Marvin Gillum, meant working on behalf of all citizens to further common aims and better the City’s reputation through improved economic development and quality of life.
Some of his colleagues are still serving their community. City Councilman Steve Randolph is nearing the end of twenty-eight years on the council (he also had years prior on the School Board), and I cannot recall an important city event at which Mr. Randolph did not represent the face of a caring and connected city government. State Senator Chuck Colgan is in the last years of his remarkable service in the community and representing Manassas in Richmond. He, too, has been a consistent presence in the community, as well as a powerful advocate for all residents.
In fact, we have benefitted from a consistent flow of caring and positive representation. Some impressive individuals have been representing Manassas City over the years, and there are still those working to make our community competitive and, well, great. We want champions for this city.
Good community leaders want to continue that tradition of service and advancing the interests of our city. There is no question that I want to add my voice and presence, on behalf of my whole community, to a lasting, positive impact on my city. We all benefit when those of good intent join in valuing the past and moving us forward. Voters need to invest their faith (and votes) in those who will do that.
This is the legacy of great leaders: inspiration. Thank you, Marvin Gillum, and thanks to those whose efforts have and continue to shape Manassas.