Myrna Fawcett knows the importance of making plans and giving back to her community. As an elder law attorney, she helps her clients anticipate and prepare for the difficult issues and decisions that can come with aging a professional she has worked tirelessly in for over 20 years.
"The ability to make a plan is the ability to control your life," Myrna asserts. "It's the ability to be independent and say, 'This is what I want. This is what I believe in. These are the issues that are important to me.'"
Her passion for law is one that she shared with her late husband, Arthur ("Chip") Fawcett. In 1991, they formed a firm to address the needs of the underprivileged in the District of Columbia court system, primarily children with special needs and the elderly.
"Chip was a quiet force," Myrna fondly remembers. "He had the ability to listen to everybody, to sit quietly, let each person speak, and then bring it all together to solve a problem. Whether in the nonprofit world, or in our work together helping children with special needs and the elderly. It was this ability to just listen and hear what people were saying and solve a problem. He had an amazing commitment to work for the public good."
It was because of Chip's desire to make the world a better place that Myrna came to appreciate the importance of historic preservation and the work of the National Trust. A committed member of the National Trust for over 30 years, Chip had expressed interest in leaving a bequest to the organization. In his honor, Myrna decided that she would leave a gift in her will to the National Trust.
"Chip and I spoke a lot about what we would we do when one of us died, about our own desires to ensure that some money would be going to those institutions were really cared about," Myrna recalls. "In my instance, it included my undergraduate school. For Chip it was education as well as urban planning, preservation, parks and recreation and that is how we came to our decision about what we wanted to do after we were gone."
That love of preservation became even more personal for Chip and Myrna in 2006 when they bought an apartment in one of Washington's historic building-The Watergate. They were drawn to its iconic architecture and the way it incorporates natural light and views of the adjacent Potomac River.
"It is an amazing place to live," Myrna says. "You can see people coming from all over the world and realizing, 'Oh my! This is the Watergate!'"
While Myrna acknowledges that not everyone loves the modern marvel she proudly calls home, she hopes people see why it is so important to save our country's historic places.
"When I look at the wholesale destruction of entire areas, particularly the attempts to destroy segments of Washington prior to the involvement of the National Trust, I realize that preservation is very necessary," Myrna says.
"This is part of our culture, our heritage."