Zebra Misc

Alexandria Mosaic Artist and Photographer Nina Tisara Receives Highest Award by Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association

Tisara Receives Reverend Ben Lynt Distinguished Service Award at the George Washington Birthday Breakfast

Man and woman standing next to each other holding plaque.
Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association Jim McClellan and Nina Tisara with the Reverend Ben Lynt Distinguished Service Award. (Photo: Steven Halperson)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – It’s not easy to surprise Nina Tisara.  At 85, she’s still got her ear to the community party line  and is acutely tuned into most of the happenings around town.

“I couldn’t believe Steven was able to keep the surprise from me,” she told Zebra, referring to her son, photographer Steven Halperson, who was with her Monday morning at the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association’s breakfast held every year before the George Washington Birthday Parade in Old Town.

With a ballroom full of firefighters, police, sheriffs, dignitaries and guests, the room exploded in applause when the group bestowed upon Tisara its highest honor, the Reverend Ben Lynt Distinguished Service Award.

“A photojournalist for over 35 years, [Nina Tisara] developed a program to identify, honor and chronicle the lives of individuals who have contributed to the Alexandria community in an exemplary and lasting way,” said Jim McClellan, president of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, referring to the nonprofit Living Legends of Alexandria (LLA) organization Tisara founded in 2007.  “For 17 years now [the Living Legends] has been and is the hallmark of recognition programs,” stated McClellan, who himself was inducted as a Living Legend in 2012.

Reverend Lynt, for whom the award is named, was a well known clergyman who devoted much of his non-pulpit time to serving Alexandria’s needs. He was a member of Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association. Lynt passed away in 1998, and the award was founded two years later to memorialize his life and dedication to the community.

The Living Legends of Alexandria organization was honored as the Grand Marshal of this year’s George Washington Birthday parade.

“I could not be happier,” said Tisara, when she was lining up at the start of the parade. Over 30 of Alexandria’s Living Legends had assembled to walk or ride upon an enormous Grand Marshal float built and contributed by Jason and Loren Yates, who were inducted into LLA in 2019.  “I’m overjoyed and overwhelmed, and very proud.  It’s a beautiful day,” said a smiling Tisara, who helped carry the Legends’ banner the entirety of the parade.The Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.

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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