In Memory of Frankie Boa-Durgammah

I’m writing a brief post to commemorate my friend, Frank (“Frankie”) Boa-Durgammah who departed this earth on July 15th. He was nineteen years old and a recent graduate of W.T. Woodson High School.

There was a memorial service for Frankie today at the American Legion, Post 177, in Fairfax City.  I was lucky to say a few words.

The service was packed with family and friends, namely those who went to Woodson with Frankie, where he was captain of the wrestling team, or grew up with him in Boy Scout Troop 1887, where he reached Eagle Scout.

I’ve been to countless events at the Legion in my lifetime.  I’ve never attended one, where the parked cars filled up the lot and then extended  all the way down Oak Street.  That was the type of young man that Frankie was.

All the adult speakers noted that Frankie was “somebody they considered a son.”  The younger speakers considered him a brother.  He was honest, respectful and hard-working. He never had an unkind word.

I knew Frankie through my friendship with his older sister and mother.  I considered him a role model for my son in the way he approached work, school, Scouts and sports.  In fact, he starred at the “Order of the Arrow” ceremony for our Cub Scout Pack in which he donned an ornate Indian headdress, recited the Order challenge, and invited the young Cubs to join the Boy Scouts.  My son was awestruck

A year ago, Frankie approached us to do odd jobs to make money for school.  I gave him the chance to clean out my garage (look up “Aegean stables” in Greek mythology).  After a day’s work in the summer heat, I had to literally pull him out of there.  He would have worked for 24 hours straight.  He was the type of young person I’d hire in a heartbeat.

I don’t know why some people leave this life too early. It’s more than I can comprehend.

I’m only consoled by the words of John 11:25 (“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”) Frankie’s family has great faith.  They use every ounce of it.

We will miss you, Frankie.

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Silver Line Opens Today

Today, the Silver Line rolled into action, sending the first trains from stops in McLean, Tysons Corner and extending out to Wiehle Avenue (Reston).

I wasn’t able to make the first ride.  According to radio reports, about 10,000 passengers did ride the Silver Line today.  We’ll see how many return on Monday.  Regardless, it’s a big day for METRO.

It’s also a big day for Fairfax County.  For the first time, the County’s downtown (Tysons Corner) is connected with downtown Arlington and downtown D.C.  From Tysons’ epicenter at Greensboro Drive, it’s now a 30 minute train ride to Metro Center in the District.  Congestion be damned.

Of course, there are a lot of wrinkles with this new service.  First of all, the Silver Line still does not connect Dulles Airport.  That will take several more years.  Secondly, it’s overhead design is not really conducive to pedestrians  Third, it will put a tremendous stress on the Potomac River tunnel which already accommodates the Orange Line trains.   Those trains — which serve my constituents — will now be pinched by the limited capacity.

(note:  Prior to 2011, I represented a half-dozen precincts along the Dulles Corridor.  No longer.  Now the 34th Senate district goes straight west along I-66, which is a whole separate transportation dilemma.  And more on that later …)

Regardless, the opening of the Silver Line is a triumph.  A lot of politicians particularly deserve kudos for leadership in having the vision and obtaining the funds, particularly Gerry Connolly who was promoting this rail over fifteen years ago as Providence District Supervisor.   And, of course, the local property owners, taxpayers (and Toll Road drivers) actually wrote the check.   So they get the most credit

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Chillin’ in VA Beach

With two active teenage daughters and a wife that is wired into the community (btw, last show of “Pippi Longstocking” is tomorrow night at Lanier MS), it’s always hard to find time to get away.

Sometimes, our family vacations can be measured in hours, not weeks.  This weekend, we took a few days off from law practice, community theater and summer field hockey to dash down I-64 to Virginia Beach and book a room at the Hampton Inn on 11th Street, a few blocks below the pier.

After arriving, we had dinner Thursday night at “Waterman’s'” restaurant on 5th street, my favorite seafood place, then spent today at the beach.  (After the recent tornado, the weather was perfect).   Although it was technically vacation, I did manage to do my piece on Jon Frederick’s show this morning.

Tonight, we had dinner at Planet Pizza.  Afterwards, Sharon took the older kids to a local drama production on 26th street.  Meanwhile, I strolled the two year-old down the Boardwalk.  It was a perfect summer evening.

We stopped to listen to an oral historian describing “The Wreck of the Dictator” at a local park.  Apparently, “the Dictator” was a Norwegian trading vessel which broke apart and sank off the Beach, then a small fishing village, during a squall about 100 years ago.  Today, there is a statute on the Boardwalk which commemorates the Norwegians who went down with the ship, which included the Captain’s wife and son.

Up early for a morning run and swim tomorrow.  The water could not be nicer.

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