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Del Ray’s Jen Walker Spreads Kindness and Builds Community

Behind the Curtain: Jen Walker

By Mary Wadland

Spread Kindness. Build Community. Those are the key mission statements Del Ray super realtor and resident Jen Walker puts on her signs, her advertising and wears on her sleeve. Literally, she has it on t-shirts. But most important, she has it imprinted on her heart.

Since becoming a realtor in 1999, Jen Walker has put her money in with her elbow grease. She volunteers for everything and has served on countless boards and committees, but when push comes to shove, and real dollars are needed, Walker comes through every time.

Before anything, Jen is a volunteer. And she doesn’t really want spotlights or attention, but the community can’t help it. The community is grateful.

Most people don’t remember when Jen started Cinema Del Ray. They only know they have been going to outdoor movies in Del Ray since they were kids, and that’s thanks to Jen Walker. When you run in the Turkey Trot, or go to the Halloween Parade or attend Art on the Avenue, or the Well Ray Crawl, or hit The Avenue for a Thursday night block party, look around. Jen Walker is there. Not only is she manning a booth or selling tickets or cheering or participating, she’s sponsoring too.

Jen Walker spreading kindness and love on the field at the First Annual Del Ray vs. Old Town Softball Battle, May 8, 2018. (Photo: Wayne Hulehan)

She’s also a pied piper. Other business leaders have followed. Thanks to Jen’s leadership and setting a high bar for giving, Del Ray’s events usually prosper. People step up. For 20 years, the community has had a rock-solid example who is the real deal.

Walker was selected as one of Alexandria’s Living Legends in 2017 because she walks the walk. She cares and she shows it. She’s hammered nails to help repair a house while a neighbor was in the hospital, and frequently offers rides to people carrying groceries or large packages. She races big wheels and shovels snow for the infirmed. Ask her to be on a committee or run an event, and she says yes. In the Legends’ archival bio of Walker, friend and fellow Legend Pat Miller said, “I can’t tell you how many times Jen has come up to me and said, ‘I’ll pay for that,’ or ‘I want to do that,’ and handed me a check. She’s magnanimous.”

Another friend and fellow Alexandria Legend Gayle Reuter said, “From the moment she moved to Del Ray, [Jen] has dedicated herself to making sure it’s the best place possible to live. From bringing us Cinema Del Ray, supporting our schools, volunteering at every possible event…she is the heart and soul of Del Ray.”

Del Ray Citizens have honored Jen Walker with a Heart of Del Ray Award, and her exceptional community service has been recognized by the Del Ray Business Association and The Alexandria Commission on Women. This month, she is being honored at the prestigious Senior Services of Alexandria Gala.

Her accolades could take up a whole page in this publication, but she wouldn’t want us to keep listing them, as Walker is above all humble. She passes the credit on to others, but trust us when we tell you, when they say it “takes a village”, they should maybe say it “takes a village, plus Jen Walker.”

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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