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Vola Lawson, former Alexandria city manager, animal shelter namesake dies

1:43 PM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
Wednesday morning, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria announced the death of Vola Therrell Lawson, Alexandria's first female city manager and namesake of their animal shelter.
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Wednesday morning, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria announced the death of Vola Therrell Lawson, Alexandria's first female city manager and namesake of their animal shelter.

The head of The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria wrote: "Lawson served as City Manager for the City of Alexandria for 15 years. in 1999, the City Council named the animal shelter after Vola Lawson because of her tireless work to develop a new shelter and create the City's contract with the AWLA. Vola was an active member of the AWLA's Board of Directors for many years until she died.

Vola was an absolutely incredible woman who had such a huge impact on this community. She was a true change agent and shaped the development of AWLA.

Personally, Vola was one of the main reasons I decided to pick up my life and head across country to become the Executive Director of AWLA. I was immediately impressed by her strength and intelligence and I knew that I wanted the very special opportunity to get to know her. I learned so much from her and, like so many others, I have truly become a better person because of her influence.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria was strengthened because of the hard work of Vola Lawson. She deeply cared about all animals and strongly believed in the importance of our work. All of us at AWLA are honored to carry on her legacy to improve the lives of Alexandria's animals."

The mayor of Alexandria also released a statement. Mayor William Euille wrote:

"The City of Alexandria has lost one of its true Living Legends with the sudden passing of retired City Manager Vola Lawson. Vola and I have been close friends and colleagues for more than 30 years; she was like a second mother, always concerned about my well-being and safety.
She loved Alexandria, its history, and its people; she strived to make the City one of the best in America.

She worked diligently to preserve affordable housing and to help City residents in need. Vola was proud of her public service, had a special love for our City employees, and the staff and animals at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter. She founded the Alexandria Walk to Fight Breast Cancer, an effort to raise funds to provide access to mammograms for all Alexandria women.

I want to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Vola's sons, David, Peter, and MacArthur; and their families."

Lawson was 79 years old.

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