Gayle Reuter named a Living Legend

February 14, 2015 1:22 PM | Deleted user
Gayle Reuter named a Living Legend
by Kevin Jahns

Watch for details about the Meet The Legends Reception, which will be held Thursday, March 19, 6:00 PM, at the Patent & Trademark Office (Madison Building), 600 Dulany Street.

 Picture by Steven Halperson/TISARA Photography
In 1993, long before Del Ray was the desirable neighborhood it is today, Gayle Reuter and some neighbors decided to put on The Block Party to celebrate efforts to revitalize Mount Vernon Avenue. Reuter went door-to-door to (some quite rough) businesses and solicited donations. After three successful years under her leadership, The Block Party became today’s Art on the Avenue, a regional, multicultural arts and music festival attracting over 50,000 people each year. The festival will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and Reuter is still a huge part of the event, one of the principal organizers, recruiting sponsors and volunteers and helping manage it from start to finish. Only a few years after Art on the Avenue began, a neighbor suggested a children’s Halloween parade. Reuter asked what he had in mind and immediately started to implement the idea. Since its inception in 1997, Reuter has been the chairperson or co-chairperson for the Del Ray Halloween Parade each year. Today the event draws over 10,000 people from all over the area.

Reuter has served on the board of the Del Ray Business Association (DRBA, formerly Potomac West Business Association) since 1991, chairing their events committee. Under her leadership the DRBA produces numerous events each year including the Taste of Del Ray highlighting local restaurants and benefitting a different charity each year and the Turkey Trot five-mile run on Thanksgiving morning with over 5,000 participants. She also is instrumental in the themed First Thursday festivals each summer month encouraging neighbors to enjoy each other while supporting local businesses and charities. Reuter gets Santa to the Del Ray Christmas tree lighting and helps line Mount Vernon Avenue with luminaries in honor of Nancy Dunning, a lost friend.

Reuter has volunteered with Community Partners for Children for several years, collecting and distributing school supplies and holiday toys to needy families and with ALIVE!, distributing food and furniture to others in need. In the early 1990s, she served as the Executive Director of Christmas in April (Now Rebuilding Together Alexandria) assisting Alexandrians in need of help with the upkeep on their homes. She has served on the boards of the King Street Metro Enterprise Team (KSMET), Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, the Del Ray Citizens Association and Alexandria’s Therapeutic Recreation Advisory Board.

Not venturing far from serving her community in her professional career, Reuter worked for Alexandria city council member David Speck from 1991–1993 and U.S. Congressman Jim Moran from 1996 to his recent retirement in 2014. On Saturday mornings you’ll find her selling produce for one of the local farmers at Del Ray’s Farmer’s Market and as the market closes each week, she loads produce the farmer donates and delivers it to Alexandria’s Battered Women's Shelter.

A pillar of Del Ray, Reuter’s vision and dedication were instrumental in revitalizing Del Ray into the thriving neighborhood it has become. Always willing to help, she does it all with kindness and a caring attitude and truly is a Living Legend of Alexandria. 

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