Tim Downs, who lives on P Street with his wife Barbara, received a surprise Thursday, when several dozen members of the community gathered on the sidewalk in front of his home to say thank you.
Downs, who is battling cancer, was wheeled to a balcony window so he could see his friends and neighbors as one by one they offered speeches and words of gratitude. Mayor Vincent Gray even declared Aug. 16 Tim Downs Day.
"We are here, Tim, to tell you how much we appreciate your contribution to the Georgetown community," said ANC Commissioner Ed Solomon.
Downs has been an active member of the Georgetown community and played a key role in seeing the O and P Street Project finally happen, after more than 20 years of advocacy.
"Without your efforts, your constant efforts to get this done, it just wouldn't have happened," said Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans. "We all owe you a big debt of gratitude because today we are here to announce that the project is done."
Gray presented Downs with a certificate of appreciation signed by community leaders. He joked that he didn't know how someone could wait 20 years to get a street re-paved.
"At the end of the day there lots of people involved in a project, but I think this one will forever be known as your project. Something that you helped make happen," said the Mayor.
Downs' medical condition made it difficult to hear many of his responses, but at one point he told those gathered before him that he was "very surprised and happy" to have them there.
His wife told her neighbors, "Our hearts are filled with gratitude."