2014 Citizen of The Year

She’s a tireless volunteer, a compassionate advocate, and a pretty good attorney.
No wonder Marie Washington is…

2014 Citizen of The Year

By Hannah Dellinger
Fauquier Times Staff Writer

It’s hard to fathom how Marie Washington has time to be so involved with so many community organizations and causes.

The attorney and Warrenton native dedicates each day to improving her community.

And because of that dedication to making her hometown a better place, Fauquier Times named Marie Washington the 2014 Citizen of the Year.

An advocate for mental health services, an animal lover, dedicated church member, avid runner, volunteer to numerous non-profit organizations and overall bundle of positive energy, Washington is a pillar of Fauquier County.

Whether it’s running a marathon to raise funds for charity, bringing a mob of guests to a Fauquier Chamber of Commerce event, representing her clients before the court, or decorating her front yard to the delight of Halloween trick or treaters, Washington is woven into the heart of the Fauquier community.

“There’s not much that she hasn’t done,” said Bryan Boyd, the finance manager of Warrenton United Methodist Church and a friend of Washington’s.

“Everything she does, she does it because she’s just driven to help others,” Boyd said.

Washington makes a point to reach out and meet as many people in the community as possible. Her infectious laugh fills a room signaling that her presence and good cheer have arrived.

“It’s so much fun to go anywhere with her. I swear she knows everybody,” said Sallie Morgan, executive director of the Fauquier Mental Health Association.

“She enjoys her role in the community and putting that effort beyond her work as lawyer,” she said.

Washington served on the mental health Board from 2009 through 2011. Morgan said that she worked closely with the lawyer during their brief overlapping terms as executive directors.

“She sometimes has clients that have needs beyond legal. She refers them to the community resources that they may need,” said Morgan. “She is just relentlessly positive in her approach. She reaches out to people with a great deal of warmth.”

Morgan said Washington has a genuine empathy and concern for those in need.

“She is very committed to mental health issues,” said Morgan. “She has a real sense of what it takes for the community to respond to those in need.”
Washington also served on the Board of Directors for the Fauquier Health Senior Living and Association.

“We may never really know how many people she’s impacted with the resources and time that she’s volunteered,” said Dr. Leon Kirkpatrick, the new director of the Salvation Army of Warrenton.

On top of being a regular financial supporter of the Salvation Army, Washington volunteers as a bell ringer around Christmas time each year.

Kirkpatrick said that Washington and her Great Pyrenees rescue dog, Kodiak, bring in lots of donations.

“She loves that dog so much,” said Boyd. “She is also really involved with Great Pyrenees rescues.”

Boyd said that Washington does a lot of volunteer work with Warrenton Methodist Church. She and her family have attended the church for decades.

The Warrenton attorney has served as legal counsel for the church on a pro-bono basis helped with fundraisers for mission trips and is very involved with the church’s effort to send care packages to the troops around Valentine’s Day.

“She has a real special place in her heart for the troops,” said Boyd. “A lot of her friends are in the military and some have been killed in the war.”

Boyd said that Washington has a deep passion for her country.

“She has so much thankfulness for freedom. She talks about that often,” he said.

Washington also volunteers her time on the Board for Fauquier Faith Partners and the Boys and Girls Club of Fauquier.

She helps out at various food drives, participates at law camp and career shadowing days with local high schools.

Washington helps conduct the junior judges program at local elementary schools. The project helps students learn how to judge for themselves what the right thing to do is in difficult situations.

She received a Distinguished Service Award in 2010 at the Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar for her work on several projects.

She developed a Continuing Legal Education program that helps lawyers study law after passing the bar.

Washington organized the No Bills Night. The conference provides a forum for the Virginia residents to raise legal issue and seek information about legal rights.

She also brought the Wills for Heroes program to Fauquier. The foundation provides essential legal documents free of charge to first responders.

Washington provides volunteer services to Rappahannock Legal Services. Her law firm has provided estate planning documents to many charities for their fund raising efforts.

“She just wants to help people in her community,” said Boyd. “It’s not for the fame. She doesn’t want the credit. She’s just a beautiful person inside and out.”

Her friends say that Washington would do anything to help them out. She is simply fun to be around, they say.

“As a friend, I really love her,” said Rene Davis, assistant sales manager at Appleton Campbell in Warrenton. “She is very active and outgoing. She is just a great person to be around.”

Boyd said that while Washington’s work may be serious, she knows how to have a good time.

“She is always full of energy and laughter,” he said. “She believes in having a good time and enjoying life to its fullest.”

It’s clear that Washington takes great pride in being a Fauquier native.

She boasts on her law office’s website that she has lived in Fauquier County her whole life. She only left briefly to attend college and law school.

Washington attended Fresta Valley Christian School as a child. Turner Ashby, now the school’s preschool director, remembers having Washington in her class years ago.

The two have maintained a relationship throughout all of the years and Washington is still involved with school fundraisers.

Washington went on to attend Liberty High School.

She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and received a Juris Doctorate in 2003.