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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Find a friend
    Charles Dickens once said “What greater gift than the love of a cat.” It sounds almost trite until you think about it. If you’ve ever known a cat, you know they have their people. We had a cat that seemed to have only five compartments in his heart. If you lived within one of those, you were spoiled and coddled by his affection. Outside of those compartments, you were, at best, malevolently ignored. However, there’s not a day that I don’t miss my furry best friend.

    Cat affection is earned. They are picky creatures who won’t be won over (for long) by cat treats and tuna. And they take great joy in playing with the milk jug cap over the pile of expensive fake mice you bought. However, they are also the ones that know when you’ve had a really bad day, and will curl up against you to purr and tell you that everything will be just fine tomorrow. The cat will also probably suggest you take a nap— because that’s a cat’s solution to most things. When a cat decides that you’re his friend, you’ll know it.

    Despite cats being the most popular pet in the U.S., many are still looking for a lap to call their own. It’s almost impossible to estimate how many cats are out surviving in the wild – they are exceptionally good at fending for themselves. Each year though, over 1 million cats find someone to rub their ears and, if the person is very lucky, their belly.

    This Saturday, Oct. 26, at our own PetSmart, the Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) will give you the opportunity to raise that number a bit. HART is a non-euthanizing shelter for homeless animals that provides foster care for cats and dogs until they find a home. Just come by this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and adopt a new friend.

    If you want to take a sneak peek at some of the friends available, you can run by PetSmart and go to the adoption center. Or visit HART online at and view all the cats (and dogs) that are impatiently waiting for their own best friend.

    Don’t have room for a new pet right now? Consider being a friend in deed by sponsoring one of the animals at HART to help defray the costs of care and food – and maybe a little cat nip.

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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Helping those who help us
    We tend to take a lot of things for granted. When we go to the store, we know there will be donuts. We know that there will be a Starbucks within a few miles of wherever we might be – probably more than one. And when we have an emergency, either at home or out and about in Sterling, we know that the Sterling Volunteer Fire Co. will show up. That’s what they do. They show up, they help, they make things better. So far this year, SVFC responded to nearly 2,000 events.

    However, we sometimes forget how much it costs to be heroes. Last year, the trucks that showed up whenever we needed them drove almost 100,000 miles around our area, going to help us, help our neighbors. The trucks run on diesel fuel that costs the volunteer fire company well over $100,000. Last year, just 10 percent of those in our area that were served by SVFC donated to them.

    All through October, the SVFC will be running its fundraiser, the Bucket Brigade, being out and about in Sterling with their red buckets asking for your support. If you see them, be sure to drop some cash and help them out.

    But don’t wait to see a volunteer firefighter before donating the SVFC. Instead, you can easily donate online at and then looking along the right side of the page for the “donate” button. You can also mail in a check or stop by the station on Enterprise Street and drop off a donation. Either way, we can say thank you for the men and women who show up to help us whether we say thanks or not.

    What if you want to do more than just donate money? The SVFC is always looking for volunteers to help at the station in both operational (active firefighting and emergency response) and associate (administrative and support) roles. The first step is going to one of the monthly orientation meetings. Lucky for you, there is one coming up on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the fire station in Cascades on Middlefield Drive. To learn more about how you can be part of something good, just visit and click on the volunteer button on the right side.

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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: On the run for art education
    Sterling residents and expert runners Ray and Cathy Pugsley, two of the owners of the Potomac River Running stores, have coached a small army of area runners and also have provided the resources to present a host of local running-related events. Each year, their company—now an eight-store operation—offers more than 20 points-based races throughout the region, and provides the administration and expertise behind more than 100 additional running-related events.

    Ray Pugsley launched the company’s race-management effort in 2006 with the family-friendly Twilight 4 Miler in Ashburn. But, before any runners could get to the starting line of that first race, the event was cancelled due to a massive storm that produced a 24-hour rainfall record at Dulles airport.

    “The beltway was flooded,” Pugsley said. “People couldn’t drive.”

    Mother Nature stilled Pugsley’s interest in presenting races until 2009, when two experienced race managers, Scott Razcko and Mike Kiernan, joined forces with PR Running.

    “We have a smooth system that I can’t claim any credit for,” Pugsley said. “We have a great race management team.”

    The newest effort to head toward the finish line with a little help from PR Running is the GRACE Race, a 5K race/walk/kids dash. The inaugural GRACE Race, a benefit for the educational and outreach programs of the 40-year-old Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), takes place Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8:30 a.m. at Reston Town Center.

    Spectators and participants are bound to have some extra fun at this event, as art-inspired costumes for runners and walkers are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in the timed 5K and to participants with the best costumes. Registration is $25 through Oct. 15, $30 until online registration closes Oct. 23 and $35 during packet pickup and on race day. Registration for the 9:30 a.m. Kids Dash takes place on race day; there is no charge to participate in that event.

    According to Pugsley, running-related events in Reston seem to attract Loudoun County runners, particularly those from eastern Loudoun.

    He has a suggestion for anyone who hasn’t been to a 5K: “Go with no intention of running it and watch.”

    “Hear the music, see the excitement and take a look at the people crossing the finish line,” Pugsley said. “You will see people from every walk of life, young and old, you name it.”

    “Most people are there doing it as their social activity,” he said, emphasizing the opportunity for making new friends.

    “You don’t have to run an entire 5K [3.1 miles],” he added. “Some people will walk. Some will run for a minute and walk for a minute.”

    Information and registration is available at .

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Put your mind to it
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Troop 2157 brings the books
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Serving those who served our nation
    Cruising to a Cure for Cancer
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Directors wanted
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Young Relics come to Sterling
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING:  The Chrisman Effect: $42,000 raised to fight ALS
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    Loudoun Business Journal - Summer 2014

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