When C. Flint Webb heard he would be receiving the Providence District Council's Community Service Award, his immediate reaction was confusion.
"I thought, 'I don't deserve this,'" said Webb, of Dunn Loring. "There are a lot of people that deserve this and spend a lot more of their time helping with community issues and the Providence District."
Though he feels he doesn't deserve it yet, he hopes he will be able to do work in the future that will help justify the kindness PDC is showing him with the award.
But it's that humility that makes Webb approachable, genuine and effective, say those who have worked with him.
"He is positive, in that discouraging words are rare, not to be confused with any reluctance whatsoever to engage in spirited debate over a fine point of science or policy," Roger Diedrich, who serves with Webb on the environmental committee of the Fairfax County Federation Citizens Association, wrote in a letter congratulating Webb for his award.
Webb's area of expertise lies in environmental issues. As a project manager with the Science Applications International Corporation, Webb already spends his days working on bettering the environment on a national level. But once he's done at the office, Webb continues to work on those issues closer to home.
In addition to his service with FCFCA for 15 years, Webb has served on the technical advisory committee of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee for three years. He has also worked with the Air and Waste Management Association for more than 18 years.
"He brings that expertise to our group. ... What he's best at doing is taking all that technical stuff and breaking it down for the lay community," said Tania Hossain, president of FCFCA. "That's why he's very good with people. It's a great leadership quality."
Each year, PDC chooses a volunteer within the Providence District to honor. PDC is an umbrella organization for civic and homeowner associations with approximately 40 current members as well as thousands of e-mail newsletter recipients.
Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) also honored Webb with a commendation from the House of Delegates at the Dec. 7 ceremony at Oakton Library.
Keam said he has had the privilege of working with Webb on several occasions, but pointed to a day during the Barack Obama presidential campaign when Webb showed up ready to knock on doors in middle of a heavy, hurricane-like storm.
"I think he's the Timex of the Providence District," Keam said with a laugh. "He's about as reliable as you can get. If he takes a lickin', he keeps on tickin'. Whether it's a small project or a big project he's always there, always performing. And he, in some ways, doesn't stand out like a Rolex but he's right there doing the right things at the right times."
Webb said his heavy involvement in the community as an adult has come as somewhat of a surprise. He heard about how a nearby goat farm would be turned into a development and place an access road onto his street, which he and others did not believe could withstand the sort of traffic it would cause.
"I had never been involved in community activism before that issue," Webb said. "But I met Becky [Cate, a PDC member], through that and then other things came up. Here I am."
His involvement in environmental issues, however, has spanned most of his professional career. His main focus lately is climate change.
"Now it's kind of changed from mitigation, or trying to reduce carbon dioxide, to adaptation where we have to recognize it is going to happen and businesses and industry and communities need to think about how to adapt," Webb said. "I think it's going to be really important for us to work on over the next few years."