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Revisiting Andy Johnston, our 2013 Citizen of the Year

Johnston will be among three civil servants honored at the Citizens of the Year Breakfast Wednesday. Times-Mirror File Photo
Andy Johnston doesn't seem to need the praise, and he's not one to seek it out. But few people will dispute that Johnston deserves applause.

In November we introduced Johnston, executive director of the local nonprofit Loudoun Cares, as our 2013 Citizen of the Year. A hub devoted to assisting other nonprofits in the county, Loudoun Cares has thrived and grown under Johnston's leadership. The nonprofit chief's enthusiasm is well-known across the county. Put simply, his love of community is contagious.

Since being named the Times-Mirror's Citizen of the Year, Johnston and his organization have raised more than $130,000 in a fundraising campaign – cash expected to go far in financing the renovation at Loudoun Cares' new facility on South King Street in Leesburg. The new structure, once revitalized, will “provide affordable and stable office space for even more deserving nonprofits,” Johnston said.

“At the most fundamental level, I like to help others because helping makes me feel good,” Johnston told the Times-Mirror in a 2013 interview. “The bigger the help I can provide, the better I feel. So, maybe it is no surprise that I have evolved into a career that is focused on doing things that I hope will help in bigger ways -- ways that benefit the larger community.”

Johnston will be among three civil servants honored at the Citizens of the Year Dinner Wednesday. The event is being co-hosted by the Times-Mirror and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

Here's what several of Johnston's colleagues said about the West Virginia native turned lover-of-Loudoun:

“The nonprofit community in Loudoun County has no greater advocate and friend than we have in Andy Johnston. Under his leadership, Loudoun Cares has launched a nonprofit center in downtown Leesburg and developed effective programs to serve our youth, other nonprofits and Loudoun’s neediest citizens. Andy’s leadership also was instrumental in the development and launch of the Connect Northern Virginia nonprofit portal."

-Tony Howard, president and CEO of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce

"He's the most kind-hearted, generous, community-serving person I know. He has the most integrity of anyone I know. He walks the talk. If he tells you he's going to do something or that it's going to have this great benefit of people in need, it's right. He does everything a nonprofit leader should do.”

-Lynn Tadlock, deputy executive director of the Claude Moore Foundation

"The Times-Mirror is proud to spotlight Andy and all he does. We write headlines about Loudoun's great bounties, but need to remind ourselves that too many people slip through the cracks. Loudoun Cares is there for these folks.”

-Peter Arundel, publisher and CEO of Virginia News Group

"When he came in, he had a fervor for wanting to make change and do good. Here was a guy who had a passion and a vision, and he put the infrastructure together to make it happen. He's a very idealistic guy. He truly believes in helping people.”

-Fred Booth, Johnston's mentor in West Virginia at the Community Council


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