I was delighted to see that the Alexandria Times honored Joe Viar did in last week’s edition. Few are more deserving of the community’s recognition for service above self.
Just to add a bit of background to how Joe got involved with the hospital: In the 80s I was the staff director of the hospital’s foundation and was always on the lookout for prospective community-minded board members. I first met Joe at an Alexandria Chamber of Commerce luncheon and was impressed by his interest in helping a number of charities both individually and through his company, Viar and Company. A couple of months later I attended the Chamber’s annual gala and successfully outbid the salesman for a printing company for “two hours of consultation” that was offered by Joe in the silent auction.
I was willing to go higher but my top bid of $90 won the day. I invited Joe to lunch and asked him to join the hospital foundation board. He agreed to do so and he even paid for lunch. That is the best $90 I ever spent because through Joe’s efforts and personal giving, millions of dollars have come to the hospital over the past 20 years. Joe’s efforts have helped the hospital pay for construction and renovation of major hospital facilities such as the Cancer Center, the Emergency Department, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Perinatal Diagnostic Center, and Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology.
I sometimes think about what would have happened if the printing company salesman had beat me out. My conclusion is that while I played a small role in introducing Joe to the hospital foundation, I know that without my involvement Joe would have eventually found another channel to great community service.