Prince William County Bar Association Past President’s Council
July 25, 2011 was the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the PWC Bar. Over the years, the Bar has been led by many wonderful presidents who, along with the membership, have developed and sustained countless programs and initiatives to benefit the membership, facilitate the administration of justice, and improve the surrounding community. As a good number of the past presidents are still active members of the Bar, a Past Presidents Council was established in January of 2011, to provide a special venue through which they can continue to contribute their wisdom and talents. All past presidents were invited to become a part of the newly formed council, and were invited to attend the first general membership luncheon meeting of the year, as special guests of the Bar, to share remembrances and insights from their years of service.
Seventeen past presidents attended the February 2011 luncheon. In attendance were: Paul Ebert, Bill Stephens, Judge Richard Potter, Judge Alan Becker, John Foote, Sharon Pandak, Judge Rossie Alston, Jr., Cheryl Brunner, Dan Newland, Judge Craig Johnston, Angela Horan, Giff Hampshire, Kathy Farrell, Judge Scott Bailey, Tracy Hudson, Mike Phipps, and Amy Ashworth. Bar Historian, Tracey Lenox summarized their remarks as follows:
We asked for some memories from these past presidents and I would group their responses into two categories. First, we had the stories of camaraderie and professional connection with the Bar.
Bill Stephens reminisced about being the 25th member of the Bar, with meetings held at George’s Lake Jackson Restaurant; Angela Horan talked about being mentored by John Foote, and about the give and take of ideas over the years with Ed McGolrick, another Bar president; Cheryl Brunner reminded us of how unusually welcoming and supportive our Bar is, spoken from her position after an extended absence from Prince William County; John Foote talked about the changes within the Bar over the years—when he took the presidency, he got the files of the Bar in a banker’s box; and Sharon Pandak and Judge Alston talked alternately about judicial evaluations and the Arthur Sinclair Professionalism Award, critical steps for the Bar in maintaining and then awarding our own high standards; and the long and seamless tradition in this Bar of mentoring younger attorneys and showing them the way.
But second, we heard other stories about how we have given to and supported our larger communities. Sharon Pandak and Judge Alston, talked about the extraordinary growth in pro bono activities over the years, and about the ground-breaking firsts for the Bar in the last 20 years—the first woman and the first African-American on the Bench, our first Judge to take the bench of the Virginia Supreme Court and Judge Alston’s own elevation to the Court of Appeals.
Ralph Coon, via letter, talked about the first meeting of the Bar that he attended in 1956, with four people present. He commented especially about how much the Association has changed and about how much the Bar Association has improved and continued to help the citizens of this County.
Paul Ebert, our elected Commonwealth’s Attorney now for 43 years, shared that he has always enjoyed the camaraderie, but in the end, “this Bar is about honor and professionalism.”
All the past presidents were invited to participate in a commemorative photo taken at the 70th Anniversary Bench Bar Dinner Dance. The Bar hopes to continue capturing its rich living history through the members of the Past President’s Council, and hopes the distinguished members of the PPC will continue to impact the Bar, the bench, and the greater community.