Our View: Discovering the hidden gems of Alexandria

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The best stories are often the ones that shed light on little-known people.

“The Imitation Game,” released in 2014, told the overlooked story of how Britain’s Alan Turing helped break Germany’s Enigma encryption machine during World War II. Last year’s “Hidden Figures” revealed the vital contributions made by black female mathematicians toward NASA’s launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Those were both fabulous, enlightening films, but movies aren’t the only way to learn about interesting and inspiring individuals. Alexandria is full of people who lead fascinating, creative, purposeful lives.

We are telling those stories in the Alexandria Times. This week’s edition features pieces on pioneering female Alexandria Aces General Manager Kimmy McCarthy and historian Gary Eyler, proprietor of the Old Colony Shop in Old Town.

McCarthy just completed her first season at the helm of the Aces’ front office, which coincided with the team’s best record in its 10-year history. Eyler collects, researches and curates historical artifacts and has framed pieces for the White House and Mount Vernon.
In last week’s paper, readers were introduced to Bernard Kempinski, a superstar in the world of making miniature models for historical exhibits. Read about, or better yet, check out his World War I sub-chaser model on display at the Lyceum.

The previous two editions featured artists Sarah Nesbitt and Sally Davies, who both have solo shows at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory. Nesbitt’s show explores truth and matter, utilizing copies of old newspapers to raise her questions.

Davies uses light to dazzlingly nudge viewers toward her deeper meanings.
In recent months, we have profiled many other interesting Alexandrians, from former Social Services Director Suzanne Chis, who retired after 34 years of service, to Lucretia Jackson, the retired principal responsible for turning around Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy and Matthew Maury Elementary School.

There was a piece on Alexandria Boxing Club members and Olympic hopefuls Troy Isley and KeyShawn Davis. We ran a trio of baseball stories, beginning with a profile of Minnesota Twins General Manager Thad Levine, who played for T.C. Williams High School; continuing with a story on the Flemming brothers, St. Stephens and St. Agnes grads who broadcast games for the San Francisco Giants (Dave) and the Boston Red Sox AAA team (Will) – as well as hometown pitcher Hughes Page, an Episcopal High School grad who played for the Alexandria Aces this summer.

There are many more interesting stories in our pipeline. Look for separate features on a trio of Alexandria musicians, including an up-and-coming young rapper, plus two other renowned performers. We will also take a look at nonprofits that are often overlooked and the people behind them. There are more interesting stories to tell than there is space to put them. 

This is where you, our readers, come in. If you know someone that you consider a hidden gem, please describe them and their accomplishments or passions in a few sentences and email us at letters@alextimes.com. We will add your suggestion to our profile list and try to tell as many of those stories as we can.The central role of a newspaper is to shine light onto darkness. That is, first and foremost, a responsibility to watch power and money, to keep an eye on the institutions and people in control.

As a community newspaper, we also need to tell our readers stories about their neighbors – because enlightenment generally breeds empathy, a necessary condition
for unity. And also because Alexandrians are just really interesting folks.

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