Gainesville Heroes

The “Gainesville Hero” award recognizes the unique and extraordinary achievements of citizens in the Gainesville District that truly inspire the rest of us to do better, sacrifice more, and become engaged in improving the quality of life in our communities.   I’m honored to meet local heroes and publicly recognize them for their service to our community.

Bev Conolly named Honorary Gainesville Supervisor

April 13, 2015

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, during a Town Hall Meeting held at Bull Run Middle School, I was honored to present Bev Conolly with our first ever Honorary Gainesville Supervisor Award for her lifetime of dedicated service.

You would never guess by her gentle demeanor that she has had a life of one adventure after another. Bev is self-described “perennial student.” Her life story is a compilation of patriotic duty, service, and lifelong learning.

Bev was born in Cleburne, Texas and raised on a cattle ranch. Her father was the youngest Alderman ever elected in Cleburne and served in that position for many years. He taught her that the four most important things in life are, in this order, God, country, family and friends.

Bev has put into action the teachings of her father serving in embassies and consulates around the world. She has lived in Japan, Egypt, Venezuela and Uruguay. Bev speaks the languages of several of those countries; namely, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish.

While in Japan, she rode horses at the Palace Stable with Prince Akihito and set high jumping records that still stand today. In Egypt, she was the Head of Security for the Embassy. In Uruguay, she hosted Rosalyn Carter on her visit to that country.

Later she had the opportunity to work with almost every President of the United States from Lyndon Johnson to George Bush, Sr. And she’ll tell you, she knew George W. Bush while he was growing up. Bev covered the McCarthy Hearings for President Johnson, and she worked on the campaign for Ronald Reagan before she had to leave because her son was in a terrible accident.

In addition to her contributions in politics, Bev is also a published author, an inventor and holder of a patent, professional genealogist, song writer, with over 200 songs to her name, an art collector, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

To this day Bev is still politically active. She continues to write letters and emails to all her representatives. She strongly believes you must be involved in goings on of your community from your Homeowners Association to local politics. She says, “If you’re not involved, don’t complain.”

Pictured: Bev Conolly and Supervisor Candland

George Berry and the House of Mercy Food Collection Program honored as Gainesville Heroes

April 13, 2015

On Wednesday April 8, 2015, during a Town Hall Meeting held at Bull Run Middle School, I honored George Berry and the House of Mercy Food Collection Program volunteers for their service to the community with a Gainesville Hero Award.

George Berry has been a resident of the Parks at Piedmont Community since 2005 and is a valuable asset to the Gainesville District. Eight months ago, George recognized a need for a dedicated right turn lane onto Heathcote Blvd from Old Carolina Road. For those eight months, George worked tirelessly with County Transportation staff and VDOT staff to remedy the issue. He never gave up, even when he found himself faced with numerous road blocks. He was tenacious and his hard work paid off with a resulting dedicated right turn lane which will improve traffic flow along Old Carolina Road.

Pictured: Supervisor Candland, George Berry, and Honorary Gainesville Supervisor Bev Conolly

House of Mercy Food Collection Program was started by Pete Verfurth several years ago with just a few retirees from Heritage Hunt. Mr. Verfuth, a parishioner of Holy Trinity Church, was inspired by a church request for parishioners to bring food to Sunday Services to help feed those most affected by the recent economic downturn. The House of Mercy Food Collection Team was formed to assist with the food collection. Almost every Monday, the House of Mercy team picks up food at the Holy Trinity Church and delivers it to the House of Mercy for packaging and distribution. The House of Mercy expanded their food collection by partnering with Giant Food Store. Every Wednesday, the House of Mercy team collects surplus food at the Gainesville Giant. The House of Mercy Food Collection Team is currently led by Bob Castle and is supported by numerous, dedicated Heritage Hunt residents.

Pictured: Bob Castle, Supervisor Candland, and Pete Verfurth

Olive Branch Baptist Church honored as Gainesville Hero

September 19, 2014

On, Sunday, September 14, 2014, I had the honor of presenting a Gainesville Hero Group Award to the Olive Branch Baptist Church at their 145th Anniversary Celebration.

For 145 years the Olive Branch Baptist Church has been a primary influence for good in Haymarket, Virginia.  The Olive Branch Baptist Church has established community outreach programs to help those who are less fortunate:  the needy, the elderly and the disabled.  Through many acts of charity, they have reached out to the community whether it was a need for life’s necessities, for counseling or for temporary financial assistance.

There are many examples from their long past of ways the church has had a tremendous impact on the community. Some examples of their service include the donation of clothing and gifts each Christmas by generous members of the church to afford those less fortunate a part of Christmas they would not otherwise enjoy. The church also works with community organizations to provide counseling for families and individuals who have fallen on hard times.

Throughout their 145 year history, the Olive Branch Baptist Church has been blessed with devoted members with a strong sense of community. Congratulations to Pastor George W. Farmer and all those who participated in celebrating the church’s 145 years.

Supervisor Candland and Reverend Jeffrey Floyd

Kristin Falcon, Dick Powell, and Sandi Sale Honored as Gainesville Heroes

April 3, 2014

On Wednesday March 19, 2014, during a Town Hall Meeting held at Heritage Hunt, I honored Kristin Falcon, Dick Powell, and Sandi Sale for their service to the community with a Gainesville Hero Award.

Kristin Falcon is the former President and later Vice President of Heritage Hunt Women’s Organization. The 300 member organization raises funds to donate to various charities in the county.  Collectively, they raised about $10-15,000 a year from membership dues, monthly raffles, yard sales, book sales and several other fundraising activities.  Additionally, the Women’s Organization plans food drives and donates the food collected along with any money donated to the Haymarket Food Pantry. The group also does drives for school supplies for local middle and elementary schools. of several organizations within Heritage Hunt. The group also offers a scholarship and for three years one local female student receives help with college tuition as a result. Kristin also enjoys volunteering at Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center. She recently helped organize a very large and very successful silent auction that raised over $4,000 for Rainbow. It was at this fundraising event that Kristin was named “the silent auction queen.”


Dick Powell is the Chair of the Heritage Hunt Emergency Preparedness task force. As the chair for the past 12 years, Dick has had the pleasure of leading many emergency volunteers. Currently, there are 87.  He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and served in the Army for 24 years. You could say being prepared is in his blood. Dick formed the group after September 11, 2001. Dick was in the first FEMA run county CERT class.  Because of his training Dick and his Emergency Volunteers or “EV’s” have implemented a robo call like system where 80% of Heritage Hunt residents are notified of an emergency within minutes. Dick was also instrumental in the addition of three more AED machines and their strategic placement throughout the community as well as organizing CPR and AED certification classes twice a year to anyone in the community. Currently, there are close to 280 residents trained in CPR and AED.  The task force, under Dick’s leadership, geographically divided Heritage Hunt into three zones and created fixed community information points at each zone for residents to give and receive information in any type of emergency.  Additionally, they divided the fairway into three sections and listed each area with the address of the home nearest the section to ease fire and rescue’s efforts to get to an emergency on the golf course. The task force also worked to get an electronic gate installed at the back entrance to the community so fire and rescue can access it with a radio signal. Prior to the massive snow storms of 2010, the task force did a survey of the 193 fire hydrants in the community and mapped their location. Once the snow fell, they were able to mark each hydrant with a red marker so fire and rescue could locate them in an emergency.

Sandi Sale, an Adjunct Professor at NOVA Community College has devoted countless hours to the betterment of the citizens of Prince William County. She lives by the standard that, “if you don’t like something, then roll up your sleeves and do something about it.” She recently involved her students in a shoe box drive for homeless shelters in the county. Sandi noticed local shelters would reach capacity each night and people were turned away. She felt more needed to be done. She organized a shoe box drive with the help of her students at NOVA Community College as well as the residents of Heritage Hunt. Her students collected shoe boxes along with food, mittens, socks, flashlights and other items to fill the boxes. Coats, and other essentials were also collected. In all about 60 shoe boxes were assembled and wrapped to look like Christmas presents to give away to those turned away each night.

A Walk to Remember

June 15, 2013

With my knees finally recovering from my 33 mile walk across Prince William County, I thought I would take a moment to share some experiences I had while participating in the 2013 Walk for Prince William event.

As you may have heard, I walked from Woodbridge to Haymarket to raise money for six local non-profit groups that help every day to make Prince William County a wonderful place to live.  These non-profits included the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center, ACTS, SERVE, Youth Apostles Don Bosco Center, the Office Chris Yung Memorial Fund, and the Marine Lance Corporal Nick Thom Housing Fund.  Over the 33 miles, I had the opportunity to visit with many volunteers who give of their time and effort to support these organizations, all without fanfare.

Before I go on any further, let me thank all of you who made a donation during this event to help these non-profits.  When I began this effort, the goal was set of raising $30,000, and we are very close to reaching that goal.  But all of these wonderful non-profits still need more help from each one of us.  I would encourage everyone to visit the donation page at, and show your appreciation for the great work that is done by the hundreds of volunteers who serve less fortunate families in our community – and to recognize the sacrifices of Officer Chris Yung and Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Thom.

At 6:00 am on Memorial Day, a small group of us gathered at the Hilda M. Barg Homeless Prevention Center to kick off the Walk for Prince William, and to thank the staff at the Center.  For the first leg of the walk, I was joined by my good friend Supervisor Mike May (Occoquan) and Prince William County Police Officer Greg Pass – who volunteered to walk the whole 33 miles with me in remembrance of his friend and colleague, Office Chris Yung, who died in the line of duty a few months ago.

The weather was perfect and the company was even better.  Along the way, we were joined by a couple of residents who heard about the walk and wanted to join in.  It was a great experience to visit with the folks who came out and to see the county from the street view.  As we were walking past the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center and the office buildings and shops along Smoketown Rd., it struck me how much business growth there has been in the county over the past several years.  While there is still much more we can do, Prince William County is a business friendly area that welcomes small and large companies with pro-business policies.

It also struck me how effective our networks of sidewalks are in the County.  Although more needs to be done, I was impressed that one could walk as far as I did, staying on safe sidewalks most of the way.

At our first stop after seven miles, we visited with volunteers from ACTS at the McCoart building.   This organization does so much to help and support those who find themselves in need of assistance.  I was touched to hear of their dedication to their work and some of the serious situations they help people through.  At this point, we parted ways with Supervisor May and made our long haul down the Prince William County Parkway.  Mike had family obligations for the day, but I know in his heart he wanted to stay with the entire Walk.  I am very grateful for his support and friendship.  This next eight-mile hike was long, but gave me a great opportunity to take in the beauty of our county.

After a few hours, we arrived in Manassas and walked over to the Youth Apostles Don Bosco Center.  This group helps predominately Hispanic middle school-aged kids in the community with a safe place to play and learn.  After meeting Father Ramon and visiting with volunteers, I was able to participate in an impromptu game of soccer.  With over 15 miles under my belt by that point, I admit I wasn’t at my best, but it was a lot of fun getting to know a few of the kids and seeing the great work being done there.

From the Don Bosco Center, Officer Pass and I walked a couple of miles over to the SERVE complex.  This organization helps individuals and families with a place to live, help with food, and assistance with job placement.  We took a tour of the buildings and learned of all the services they provide.

While walking along the road to SERVE, I had the privilege of meeting Charlie Pickens, a fourth generation resident of Prince William County.  It was truly an honor to visit with Charlie and hear about his time in the County, his families’ history, and his time in the Service.  In the end, Prince William is a great place to live because of the wonderful people that make up its population.  People like Charlie live their lives every day raising a family, going to work, and volunteering in the community.

When we were finished visiting with the good folks at SERVE, we walked over to the Western District Police Station.  Here, we were able to visit with those officers who knew Officer Yung and express our appreciation for the work they do in keeping all of us safe.  As the Gainesville Supervisor, I am reminded often of the wonderful men and women of our Police Department.  We truly have one of the best police departments in the country.

From the police station, we started our final leg of the trip – almost seven miles to the finish line in Haymarket.  By this point, my knees were in considerable pain, but I was able to pass the time by hearing the incredible stories of sacrifice and courage from Officer Pass.  He told me of his experiences as a Prince William County Police Officer and his appreciation for the opportunity to serve.

After 33 miles, 12.5 hours, and over 64,000 steps, we made our way into the town square in Haymarket.  We were overwhelmed to see almost a hundred people who had gathered to welcome us at the finish line.  We were able to have a small ceremony thanking our sponsors, and I was able to present Officer Greg Pass with our latest Gainesville Hero Award.

I won’t ever forget Memorial Day 2013, where I was able to participate in the Walk for Prince William and see the sites of the county and meet the wonderful people who help to make our community a great place to live and raise a family.  I’m looking forward to the Walk next year…hope to see you out there.


Haymarket Food Pantry, Latest Gainesville Hero

March 13, 2013

On March 13, I had the privilege to acknowledge the Haymarket Food Pantry, its Board of Directors, and the volunteers as “Gainesville Heroes.”

This local food pantry is a volunteer-based non-profit organization that helps to eliminate hunger in our community.  They collect and distribute food and household items to over 350 needy families in Prince William County each week.  Their selflessness and commitment to community service are an example to all of us in Gainesville District.  For more information about the Haymarket Food Pantry or to learn how you can volunteer to help this outstanding organization, please visit

Gainesville Budget Committee Honored as Gainesville Heroes

February 20, 2013

In February, I took the opportunity to recognize the volunteers on the Gainesville Budget Committee as “Gainesville Heroes.”

The members of the Gainesville Budget Committee are:

–          Vito Losardo, Chairman

–          Mike High

–          Mac Haddow

–          John Gray

–          Don Metzger

–          Scott Abell

–          Janelle Anderson

–          Steve Merkli

These men and women dedicate countless hours towards reviewing the nearly $1 billion county budget.  Over the past year, the Budget Committee has dedicated countless hours towards researching the county budget and proposing ideas to make county government more efficient and more accountable.  On many Saturdays, members of the Budget Committee can be found on a conference call to discuss the latest budget developments, and during the week they commit time towards researching the nuances of county government spending.  They have come forth with several proposals to reduce spending, diminish residential tax burdens, and reform local government.  They have been instrumental allies to me and to all the taxpayers of the Gainesville District.  Their sacrifice, intellect, and diligence are a benefit to all of us.


Sports Leagues Named Gainesville Heroes

December 7, 2012

At a town hall meeting on November 28, I had the privilege of recognizing the sports leagues in Western Prince William County and their boards of directors as Gainesville Heroes.

Sports play a large role in the Candland household, as I grew up playing basketball and football, and until recently I still participated as a high school basketball referee.  Many Saturday mornings, you can find the Candland family at a swim meet or a sports field.

The volunteers with various sports leagues in Prince William County devote countless hours towards providing a safe and fun athletic environment for the youth in our community.  From coaches to fans to referees to board members, there are many people involved with helping to teach important life skills through sports such as leadership, diligence and teamwork.

Here are the sports leagues that we recognized as Gainesville Heroes:

In addition, I gave a Gainesville Hero award to Mr. Jeff Bergman for his tireless efforts to improve sports experiences for youth in Western Prince William County and for his consistent advocacy for the sports leagues.

Again, I want to thank the numerous volunteers who make our sports leagues successful for their commitment towards the youth in our community.


American Legion Post 1799 Named Gainesville Hero

November 8, 2012

On November 1, I was proud to present the American Legion Post 1799 in Haymarket with our latest Gainesville Hero Award.

At an event held for veterans at Regency, I had the honor of meeting several veterans from our area and was privileged to speak about the impact that veterans have on our nation and our county.

The American Legion Post 1799 and its members are perfect examples of what it means to live a life of community service.  While these men and women fought bravely and have sacrificed greatly for our nation, their impact is felt in our local community on a continual basis through the many programs that they sponsor and host.

I believe in the American Legion Post 1799 and their work that improves the quality of life in Haymarket.  Here is just sampling of their programs that are making an impact in Western Prince William County today.

– They are the charter sponsor for Boy Scouts of America Troop 1882.

– They provide flags to students in elementary schools.

– They sponsor an oratorical contest at Battlefield High School.

– They fund a program that teaches firearm safety.

– And many people know about their Boys State and Girls State Programs for high school students.

This just scratches the surface of what the American Legion is doing in our community.

It is for these reasons and more that I presented the American Legion Post 1799 with a certificate naming them a Gainesville Hero.

Their commitment to continual public service is an example to all of us.

Post Commander Mike High and Supervisor Pete Candland

Pete Candland and Membership Chairman Don Hirst

Don Hirst, U.S.A.F., Lt. Colonel, Retired, Thomas Hanton, and Pete Candland

Delegate Tim Hugo Named Gainesville Hero

September 14, 2012

Due to his tireless efforts on behalf of Western Prince William County to facilitate the installation of a traffic signal at a dangerous intersection, Supervisor Pete Candland is proud to name Delegate Tim Hugo as the latest Gainesville Hero.

The intersection of Rt 15 and Waverly Farms Drive was set to open in 2012, and would provide needed access to two nearby schools, a large church, and would serve as an alternate entrance into Dominion Valley.  However, VDOT would not agree to permit a traffic signal to be installed, even though the developer would pay the entire bill for the signal.  It was clear that this intersection would prove to be a traffic danger, and there were valid community concerns over the additional traffic due to the nearby schools.

In response, Delegate Hugo, though only representing the area in the General Assembly for a month, took action with his staff to remedy this situation.  They immediately worked with officials at VDOT and the Prince William County Transportation Department to fast-track the approval process, and then coordinated with the developer to ensure that the traffic signal was installed before school opened this fall.

Delegate Hugo has served this area with diligence and integrity, and is worthy of being named Gainesville Hero for his tireless efforts to ensure safe roadways for commuters and children in Western Prince William County.

Delegate Tim Hugo and Supervisor Pete Candland

Reagan Middle School Principal Dr. Ed Stevenson, Delegate Tim Hugo, and Supervisor Pete Candland