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Meet The Winners of the 2023 Brickie Awards

The 17th Annual Ward 6 Brickie Awards at The Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St. NE) were sold out. Hundreds of Ward 6 neighbors attended the sold-out event, hosted by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D).

The Brickie Awards are an annual celebration of Ward 6, with actual bricks given as awards to winners in five categories: Neighbor, Community Organization, Business, Public Service, and Civic Pride.  

Established as the ‘Livable Walkable Awards’ by then-Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, a 2023 winner, the awards are presented as engraved bricks. The event was nicknamed ‘The Brickies’ by Hill Rag Editor Andrew Lightman.

Musicians from Stuart Hobson Middle School began the night with some Miles Davis. Photo: A. Lightman

It’s Ward 6’s annual get-together, with free food and drink from some of our favorite local restaurants and businesses. And, yes– Allen gives winning neighbors actual bricks as a way of saying thanks for their contributions that have literally built the Hill into the great place it is today.

“Each year, Ward 6 neighbors nominate the people in our community who make it such a special place to call home. From a neighborhood store that meets your every need, to the great community outreach team at the Metropolitan Police Department’s First District, to two organizations that have brought together hundreds of families, to a beloved public servant, awardees like these make the Brickies my favorite night of the year,” said Councilmember Allen. “Ward 6 really goes above and beyond to make our neighborhoods places we love and cherish.”  

The 2023 Ward 6 Brickie Award winners are:  

Counclmember Charles Allen presents a Brickie to Tommy Wells. Wells was Ward 6 Councilmember when he established the Brickies. “You’ve even improved the bricks!” he quipped at Allen.

Neighbor Award: Tommy Wells | Former Ward 6 Councilmember, Director of the District’s Department of Energy and the Environment (DDOE), State Board of Education Member, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC)

Tommy Wells has served the residents of Ward 6 in many capacities for decades, most notably as Ward 6 Councilmember from 2007 to 2015 and as the Director of the District’s Department of Energy and the Environment from 2015 to 2022.

He also chaired Advisory Neighborhood Commission (“ANC”) 6B and worked on behalf of vulnerable children as the head of the DC Consortium for Child Welfare and as a social worker with DC’s Child and Family Services Agency.

Known as an effective, amiable, and dogged community leader and legislator, Tommy’s career has been focused on making the District a great place to live, work, and raise a family. A natural community-builder, as Ward 6 Councilmember, Tommy started the Livable, Walkable Awards (later renamed the Brickie Awards) to bring together neighbors and highlight the best of Ward 6.

As he now steps back from government service, Tommy will be honored with a Brickie of his own for his exemplary dedication to his Ward 6 neighbors and District residents. 

Every year, the Neighbor Award goes to someone who exemplifies the very best in our community in service to others, and Tommy Wells has done just that. From service on ANC 6B, State Board of Education, DC Council, and city agencies, from leading Jan’s Tutoring House and mentoring young people to success, from inspiring his neighbors to create the community they want to call home and so much more. Allen said he was thrilled to honor Tommy Wells with this year’s award. 

Organizers with Capitol Little League (CHLL) which has served hundreds of Hill families, received the Brickie for Community Organizations. Photo: A Lightman

Community Organization Award: Capitol Hill Little League 

Hundreds of Ward 6 families have been part of Capitol Hill Little League (CHLL) since its founding in 2011. This volunteer-run organization supports more than 700 players on 50 teams with all-volunteer coaches, umpires, administrative support, and board leadership each year.

Thousands of Ward 6 children have learned how to love baseball and softball, be part of a team, and make new friends thanks to Capitol Hill Little League’s tireless dedication to creating a fun, welcoming, and supportive youth sports environment.

Capitol Hill Little League isn’t just a rite of passage for many families growing up in Ward 6, it’s a mission to see each young person grow and succeed. Whether it’s schoolmates on opposing teams hugging and high-fiving each other on the bases, learning the valuable skills of teamwork and resilience in the face of a loss, or celebrating a hard-earned victory with teammates followed by shaking hands with the other team – Capitol Hill Little League is about much, much more than the balls and strikes of baseball and softball.

The organization has expanded the sport to make teams more accessible to families of all abilities and has worked with intentionality to grow teams in every neighborhood, regardless of ability of pay. It has put time, money, and effort into making Ward 6 an incredible and vibrant place to call home.   

Operators of Old City Market, awarded a Brickie for their contributions to businesses and community. Photo: A. Lightman

Business Award: Old City Market and Oven 

Located at the corner of Sixth and K Streets NE, Old City Market and Oven has established itself as a neighborhood institution.

It’s known not just for its wood-fired pizzas and wide selection of wines, but for its unique and deep connection to the Near Northeast community, particularly to J.O. Wilson Elementary School. Old City Market and Oven frequently goes above and beyond to support J.O. Wilson – their neighbor across the street – by helping the school fundraise, providing at-cost food for community events, and serving as a gathering place for parents and school staff.

Old City employees know many of their patrons by name and regularly welcome neighbors to use their space for community events like public safety meetings and birthday parties. They are both a business and a hub for community life – a great example of the importance of small, local businesses to creating and sustaining vibrant neighborhoods and exactly the type of business worthy of celebrating with this year’s award.  

Members of the First District Team with Commander Colin Hall as they accept their Public Service Brickie. Photo: A. Lightman

Public Service Award: Metropolitan Police Department’s First District Community Outreach Team 

The Metropolitan Police Department’s First District Community Outreach Team has done an outstanding job building relationships with neighbors, ANCs, government agencies, and businesses across Ward 6 neighborhoods to collectively improve public safety.

The officers on the Community Outreach Team – Officers Mohammed Lewis, Cyrus Miller, Linda Boone, Stephen Rose, and Steven Ferris – truly embody the spirit of the Public Service Award, meant to recognize those whose work in the public sector has a positive impact on the lives of Ward 6 residents.

They have gained the trust and respect of residents by maintaining a frequent and consistent presence in the community, from organizing numerous community safety walks in partnership with Councilmember Allen’s office – where they engage neighbors and work to collaboratively tackle our public safety challenges – hosting outdoor movie nights, leading community cleanups, and more. They are positive, proactive, and inclusive, and always ready to work toward solutions and hear all neighbors’ perspectives.

Along with their First District Commander, Colin Hall, they show genuine commitment to community policing and building trust in law enforcement and the team is always “here to help”. 

Organizers with Hill Family Biking accespt the Civic Pride Brickie. Photo: A. Lightman

Civic Pride Award: Hill Family Biking 

In less than a year, Hill Family Biking has empowered both new and seasoned Ward 6 bicyclists by offering a safe and welcoming experience for those who want to explore DC’s streets and trails. The organization has organized fun and creative monthly-themed rides that foster community, encourage street safety, advocate for better infrastructure and policies, and celebrate Capitol Hill neighborhoods.

Hill Family Biking began in April 2023 with the goal of providing a safe space for those who want to bike safely through their monthly rides. While relatively new to Ward 6, its popularity speaks for itself. The first ride in April had 250 participants, and ride participation has steadily grown since then, showing that Hill Family Biking is meeting a need for family-friendly bike rides on Capitol Hill and throughout the District.

Hill Family Biking has partnered with other organizations to extend its reach and celebrate specific events or themes, such as DC Queer Bikes for a Pride ride in June, the Ward 6 Public School Parents Organization for a Back-to-School ride, The Hill is Home for a Halloween ride and the DC Public Library for a library-themed ride. The group has quickly established itself as an impactful organization dedicated to building community through learning, exploration, collaboration and fun, embodying the true meaning of civic pride. 

All food and beverages for the event are donated by exceptional H Street NE, Ward 6, and local DC businesses, including: The Queen Vic | Pie Shop | Ethiopic | Tiki Garden Thai Street Food | Tunnicliff’s Tavern | Hill East Burger | Taco City | We The Pizza | Little Pearl | The Pretzel Bakery | Tropical Smoothie Café in MVT | A Baked Joint | Atlas Brew Works | DC Brau. Other sponsors include Hill’s KitchenCreateDC, Naval Lodge No. 4, and the Hill Rag. 

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