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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Lifting Spirits with a Package from Home
    At Potomac Falls High School, some of the Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation volunteers take a break from packing boxes for members of the military serving overseas. Photo/courtesy: K. Felix.
    Doug Green’s goal was a life of service. After graduating from Potomac Falls High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served two tours of duty, supporting both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

    He planned to return from Afghanistan as a military veteran who one day would serve Virginia, his home state, in the U.S. Senate. As his second tour was coming to a close, however, he was killed when insurgents attacked his unit in Kandahar province.

    The extreme grief his family experienced after his loss eventually began to be pushed back a bit by a strong sense of purpose that would launch a program to bring a box from home—a care package—to members of the military serving anywhere in the world. As a result, the Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation was created.

    Last weekend, the foundation held its third annual care-package event at Potomac Falls High School, with the help of a cafeteria full of volunteers including family members, friends and a team of students, many from the school’s DECA marketing program.

    The nearly 100 volunteers worked for four hours on Sunday, assembling and packing close to 350 boxes to be sent to military heroes at outposts across the globe. As volunteers with large vehicles loaded up the seemingly endless stacks of packages for delivery to a nearby home, Krissy Green, Doug’s sister, outlined the next step in their journey.

    “The USPS brings a truck and loads it for us,” Krissy said, as she expressed her gratitude for the customer service. “They bring a huge truck,” she said, smiling.

    Some previously deployed service members on hand explained the importance of the care packages.

    “It’s not just what’s inside,” said Timothy Williams of Ashburn, a former staff sergeant who grew up in Sterling and served five Army tours. “When they open the boxes, that’s home. And they’re [people at home] remembering that we’re here.”

    Williams said two of the more popular care-package items are beef jerky and toilet paper.

    “No one knows how much these care packages mean,” said Nicholas Simkins of Arlington, who was serving overseas when Green was killed.

    Simkins said Girl Scout cookies of any kind are additional favorite items in the packages.

    The Doug Green foundation welcomes volunteers, contributions, corporate support and contact information for service men and women in need of a care package. The all-volunteer organization uses 100 percent of all donations for the packages. Details are available online at www.douglasjgreenmemorialfoundation.org.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Hoppity hop
    The world is full of absurdly cute animals. Obviously the cutest is the otter, but bunnies aren’t that far behind. If you can’t be an otter, then being a bunny is a good second option.

    Most of the bunnies we see around here are eastern cottontails. These are the adorable creatures that make your children yell “Stop the car … there’s a bunny.” They are extremely prevalent in this area, and they better be, because (don’t read this part to your kids) only 20 percent die of natural causes. The rest become part of the circle of life. These furry friends make up half the diet of those other cute animals, foxes and more than four-fifths of what bobcats survive on.

    Next week, Wednesday, April 1, the Heritage Farm Museum, in Claude Moore Park, will be hosting a Bunny Bonanza for bunnies that aren’t on any animal’s menu. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you and your kids can play with live bunnies, do bunny crafts and learn from bunny exhibits. You’ll also get a chance to meet the most famous bunny of all – the Easter Bunny. And I dare any fox to try to take that guy on.

    You’ll also find out how you can volunteer and help animals (including bunnies) right here in Loudoun. This is an especially great event if you have a pet bunny or are thinking of making a bunny a family friend. There are four dozen varieties of pet bunnies, weighing anywhere from two to 20 pounds.

    The Bunny Bonanza is free with paid admission to the Heritage Farm Museum, which is a bargain at $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for kids 2-12 and free for children under age 2. So hop along and go check out the bunnies.

    Can’t wait until April to see the Easter Bunny? I understand, you’ve got a list of candy you want and it’s important to get that request in early. On Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church will be holding their annual Community Easter Egg Hunt – complete with Easter Bunny.

    Just show up to the Briar Patch Park at the corner of Frederick Drive and Sterling Boulevard, and be ready for some Easter fun. Finding eggs not your thing? Don’t worry, there’s crafts, face-painting and games. Go home with some eggs, some candy and some great memories. To learn more, visit http://www.stmtts.org.

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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: March Madness in Eastern Loudoun
    There are definite signs of spring in the air. The ducks have returned to their favorite body of water at Dulles Town Center. March Madness is taking over River Bend Middle School. And the AARP is offering free tax help at the Loudoun County Public Library at Cascades.

    On the court: Our very own Raven Nation, based at River Bend Middle School, is inviting the community to attend and cheer at the school’s March Madness student and staff basketball game on Thursday, March 19. Two school teams—Team Fritz and Team Frenck—led by the school’s assistant principals, Eric Fritz and Dave Frenck, will take the court at Potomac Falls High School at 7 p.m. The teams, made up of student and staff players, are playing to raise money for an LED sign for the school’s front entrance. Admission is $5; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Raffle drawings will take place at half-time. Prizes include four one-day Hopper passes to Walt Disney World in Orlando (value $536), Washington Wizards t-shirts and more. Raffle tickets are $2. The festivities offer a free-throw contest and a performance by the RBM band and choir. Tickets are available in the school’s front office. For information, call 571-434-3220.

    Care packages: The Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation hosts a fundraiser March 21 at Velocity 5 in Sterling from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. From noon to 11 p.m. that day, 18% of the restaurant’s sales will go to the foundation, for use in sending care packages to members of the military serving overseas. A raffle and silent auction also will take place. On March 22, the organization hosts its spring care-packaging event at Potomac Falls High School from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Volunteers are welcome. Information is available online at djgmf.org.

    Clean-up crew: The Cascades Spring Trash Bash and Food Drive takes place March 22 from 12:30 until 5 p.m. This family-friendly event starts at the Potomac Baptist Church parking lot at 20747 Lowes Island Boulevard. Registration, refreshments, giveaways and a briefing take place from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Volunteers will head out to clean-up sites in the area and return any time before 5 p.m. Information is available at sempertech.com/CTB.

    Tax breaks: AARP volunteers provide assistance in filing taxes electronically at the Cascades branch of the Loudoun County Public Library through Wednesday, April 15. The tax sessions take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For information, call 703-444-3228.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Magical thinking
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING:  Springing into action in Sterling
    STERLING BOULEVARD: More than just cookies
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Top Honors for Loudoun Photographers
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Glass slippers
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: All Things Seussical
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Frozen: The running water blues
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Matters of the Heart
    STERLING BOULEVARD:  Love is in the air
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Music Man at River Bend
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