Parnes is Sully's Lord Fairfax|
By Bonnie Hobbs
Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) was deciding who to name as
the Sully District's Lord Fairfax for 2003, he was
surprised to discover that Jeff Parnes had never held
"Maybe it's because he's been
redistricted so many times," said Frey. "But Jeff has
seen so much out here and been involved in everything.
He's been involved in land use since he was in
Greenbriar, he's been a staple of the Sully District
Council since its inception and, certainly, he's been
involved in his own community."
He noted that Parnes,
52, of Chantilly Highlands, has been "an invaluable
part" of most of the planning efforts in western Fairfax
County, including the Route 50 Corridor, Fairfax Center
area and Route 28 Corridor studies. So, said Frey, "For
all the districts he's been in, I'm glad I got the
chance to name him as Sully's Lord because I think he's
been such a critical part of Sully since its
Originally from New York, Parnes graduated
from Syracuse University in 1974 with a bachelors in
math. (Proud that this year's basketball team is the
NCAA champion, he gave a hearty, "Go Orange)!"
and his wife of 29 years, Daria, assistant branch
manager of the Kings Park Library, have two children.
Son Adam, 25, of Reston, works for Nextel; daughter
Sarah, 22, is doing masters research in environmental
science at Harvard. And Jeff works for Northrop Grumman
in information technology.
As for him being named
Lord Fairfax (for which he and the other honorees will
be feted with a dinner, June 2, at Mike's American Grill
in Springfield), his wife is delighted. "I'm always
proud of Jeffrey," she said. "He's a good person, and he
always does a lot for the community."
While living in
Greenbriar for five years, Parnes was a member and
chairman of the Greenbriar Civic Association's Land-Use
Committee and, in 1982, he was the GCA's Citizen of the
Year. He was involved with the Chantilly Youth
Association, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and served on
numerous Area Plan Review task forces in various
He's land-use chairman of the Sully
District Council of Citizens Associations and is past
president of the Sully District Council and its current
Webmaster. He's on the Fairfax County Federation of
Civic Associations executive committee and is Webmaster
and past president of the Chantilly Highlands Homes
Parnes attends meetings twice a week,
but enjoys doing it. "It's easier today than it was
years ago when I had to ditto, fax and mail things out,"
he said. "Now with e-mail, the technology is so much
better. I like the sense that we're accomplishing
things." Often, he said, the citizen groups are able to
modify developers' proposals with residents' input to
tailor a particular result.
For example, the Fairfax
Center area study he was active in, in the 1980s, in
Greenbriar helped shaped the area from Waples Mill Road
to Stringfellow Road and Route 29 to Route 50. "I
discussed with [developer] Til Hazel what road
improvements should be put in place," he said. "When TRW
was built, as Greenbriar's land-use chair I signed off
for the Greenbriar community on the proposals.
also chaired a study for land use along the Route 50
Corridor, running from Greenbriar west to Route 28. And
it was no easy thing. Said Parnes: "Some of the meetings
were so contentious, we had to have police backup."
Still, it's worth it, he said: "The community you live
in is only as good as you make it to be."
At the same
time, he managed to study and receive two masters
degrees — from GMU in 1988 in management sciences and
operations research, and from Virginia Tech in 1999 in
information systems. Now, in his spare (!) time, he
likes to work on the computer, work in his backyard
flower and vegetable gardens and tend to the 34 trees on
his quarter acre.
But even with all these activities,
said Daria, "He's a wonderful husband and father because
he's very caring. He sets the bar to which we all
aspire. When my dad was alive, he took him out every
Saturday. And he takes time to listen, so people on both
sides of issues respect him."
As an undergrad at
Syracuse, he helped support himself by running a "taxi"
service with his own car. On weekends, he drove people
to New York, where he stayed with his mom (his dad died
when he was 15), and drove them back to Syracuse on
"That's how we had our first date," recalled
Daria. "In 1971, he drove me to New York in the back
seat and, going back to Syracuse — where I was a junior
— I was in the front seat next to him. Soon, he was
making me dinner or, rather, defrosting it."
also an Eagle Scout and was in the Alpha Phi Omega
fraternity — a service organization — in college, so
perhaps that's where his call to community service
began. Now, Parnes said he's honored to be named Lord
Fairfax. Oddly enough, he said, "I never considered
myself a candidate — I was pleasantly