Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Delegate Keam Presents Constituents with Recognition

Oakton Patch  

Providence District Council Recognizes Couple with Service Award

Holiday party at Oakton Library also draws Dels. Mark Keam and Jim Scott

By Allen Abrams

December 16, 2010

Rebecca Cate and Michael Cavin helped set up the Providence District Council's annual holiday party at Oakton Library just as they've done for years. Cavin mixed the punch, Cate baked cookies, and both were setting the tables with food as guests arrived.

But their involvement this year had one notable exception. The married couple of 22 years doubled as the recipients of the award they have so often helped organize in the past: PDC's annual community service award.

Though no nominations for this award were submitted for the second year running, the names of Cate and Cavin came up repeatedly at last year's holiday party as deserving recipients, in effect serving as their nomination, said Denise Rogers, PDC president. PDC did not give out the award last year.

PDC is an umbrella organization for civic and homeowner associations with approximately 40 current members as well as thousands of e-mail newsletter recipients.

Residents of Dunn Loring as well as business partners, Cate and Cavin also were recognized by the House of Delegates with a commendation delivered by Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) and Del. Jim Scott (D-53rd District). The commendation was signed by all five delegates that represent the triangle-shaped district that stretches from Tysons Corner to Seven Corners and the area around Fair Oaks Mall.

Both of the attending delegates spoke highly of the honorees, as did a string of members of the PDC.

"[A]s I thought back on what Becky Cate does for this community and what she represents for all of us, the only thought I had was that she is the conscience of Providence, that she makes all of us know who we are as people, why we care about each other as neighbors and what makes us want to give more to this community to make this a better place to live," said Keam, who worked with Cate on a number of projects, including the campaign in which he was elected.

Added Scott, "We are deeply in your debt because you do it without expectation of compensation. You do it because you love it, because you love your community, so we very much appreciate all of your hard work."

A common theme running through each of the speakers was the industriousness and expertise the couple has been able to pass on to so many others on land-use and development issues, often forging firm friendships along the way.

"Both of them are admired greatly, highly respected by citizens and they really challenge the politicians and the developers. I mean, when Becky Cate and Mike Cavin step forth, be it involved in a land-use issue or a development issue, the flags go out. People perk up," said Jody Bennett, who did not have a chance to speak before the group because of the many others eager to commend Cate and Cavin.

Bennett added, "They have research knowledge that goes back years and years–they call it institutional knowledge. And they're a lot of fun outside of this land-use stuff."

Cate and Cavin thanked the many they had worked with over the years for their example and support, and Cate spoke of the "fire in the belly" required for their activism, which often challenges large developing firms with vast resources.

Asked where the fire in her belly came from, Cate responded, "It's the issues. It's the issues, and it's protecting our communities, and it's protecting our communities for those that are going to follow, and protecting the environment."

Cate acknowledged supervisors often pass the ordinances necessary to guarantee those protections, but noted those same supervisors also frequently grant waivers to those rules.

"I think you find the fire in the belly when you find injustice, and that's what's kept us going," Cate said.

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