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Del Ray Business Association Recognizes Community Difference-Makers at 2023 Star Awards

DRBA Star Award winners with presenter Dr. Lauren Fisher (far left). Brian Danza is not pictured. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty/The Zebra Press)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-On Monday, Dec. 18, the Del Ray Business Association (DRBA) hosted the annual Star Awards during it’s holiday party. The event honors people in the Del Ray community “who have gone above and beyond in their service” to the neighborhood, remarked presenter Dr. Lauren Fisher during the evening’s ceremony. (Gayle Reuter also served as a  presenter.)

Jenna Gotch was named Outstanding Small Buiness Owner. The owner of Passionately Pets has led a successful business for 18 years. She was recognized for her collaborations with other small businesses, her support of local animal rescue operations, and her dedication to helping at  Del Ray events. Gotch founded the Del Ray Dog Fest this year.

Amy Eggers was also named Outstanding Small Business Owner. The Del Ray native is an award-winning realtor at Coldwell Banker Realty. Her business is dedicated to helping and advocating for the small businesses around her. Eggers is also the founder and CEO of the Del Ray Vintage Flea Market, co-chair of Art on the Avenue, and the retail chair of DRBA.

Elsie Akinbobola was recognized with the award for Outstanding City/Government Service. She is the director of the Mount Vernon Recreation Center. She is a continuous supporter of Del Ray events, including Taste of Del Ray, Art on the Avenue, and the Del Ray Halloween Parade.

Brian Danza was named Outstanding Citizen. He is a member of DC Road Runners, founded 50 years ago,  The group’s website calls it “DC’s Premier running organization.” Danza has been Race Director for the Alexandria Turkey Trot for the last 12 years. Thanks to his influence, the number of runners grows each year. The most recent event saw 6,000 runners take part.

Patty Moran was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She is has served ACPS for decades as Assistant to the Principal at ACHS and before that T.C. Williams High School. She moved to Del Ray in 1976, quickly becoming a member of the original Del Ray Divas. She is dedicated to volunteerism, and is adviser to the school’s Key Club.

Dennis Reeder was presented with the Making a Difference Award. Reeder is a longtime business and property owner. Three decades ago, he organized the neighborhood’s first block party, which eventually became Art on the Avenue. The building he owns that is located in Del Ray housed the Artisans during their formation. He was also praised for supporting residents during the pandemic.

Kate Moran, Patty’s daughter, was given a blue ribbon for acting as Master of Ceremonies of the Del Ray Holiday Season Kick-Off for the last 20 years. The event honors her late aunt, Nancy Dunning. This year, the Kick-Off supported Carpenter’s Shelter, one of Dunning’s favorite causes.

The DRBA also took time to recognize its own accomplishments this year, including raising more than $100,000 for local nonprofits.

The organization represents independently-owned residents, retailers, and business in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. [SEE ALSO: Alexandria Firefighters Union Seeking Donations for Annual Toy Drive]

Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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