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Tucker, UR graduate honored for career of military service

U.S. Army Major General Gina S. Farrisee lives to serve her country.

Earlier this month, her alma mater rewarded that service.

Farrisee, a 1978 University of Richmond graduate, received an award from the university for her distinguished service during an event at UR's Camp Concert Hall as part of the school's alumni reunion weekend June 4.

After graduating from Henrico's J.R. Tucker High School, Farrisee went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from UR and was commissioned in the Adjutant General’s Corps. She continued on to earn her master of science degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University.

Farrisee assumed her current position as the commander of the U.S. Army and Human Resource Command at Ft. Knox, Ky., last October.

Her efforts, dedication and skills have been recognized during her time in the service. She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and a host of others.

But though the awards and decorations are meaningful, Farrisee said she believes that true satisfaction comes from her experiences.

“The journey is the reward, not the destination,” she said. “Not a day goes by when I don’t remember the efforts of those who serve our country. Throughout this decade, they have performed magnificently.”

During her acceptance speech, Farrisee reminisced about her years at the university. She thought that many things had changed but said the faculty and staff were still dedicated to the learning experience and that the students still had the passion to immerse themselves in what UR has to offer.

The university's commitment to academics, she said, allowed her to reach the heights she has reached in the military.

"Thirty-three years ago, I graduated with two credentials,” Farrisee said. “I had my diploma in my one hand and my commission in the second.”

Farrisee's father, Robert L. Sgro, was the one who inspired her to join the ROTC. Sgro graduated from the University of Richmond in 1956 and was an Army Reserve officer for about 30 years.

Farrisee stepped out of college and took on several early assignments, spending time in New Mexico and Vaihingen, Germany. Later, she became chief of enlisted management at Fort Bliss, Tex., and commander of the 525th Replacement Company in Fort Lewis, Wash.

A second German term allowed her to take other positions, including chief of strength management and commander of the 575th Personnel Services Company.

In 1995, she returned to Fort Lewis and was assigned as the commander of the 22nd Personal Services Battalion. Farrisee later served as the 61st Adjutant General of the Army for the Human Resources Command.

Her last assignment as director of military personnel management, Army G-1, in Washington, D.C. concluded Oct. 14 after four years.

Farrisee now lives in Burke with her husband, retired Army Colonel David G. Farrisee. The pair met during their college days, when the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University ROTC combined for activities.

In addition to Farrisee, UR also recognized Allison Marsh Bogdanovic and R. David Shimp, who earned the tenth-year reunion award from the Jepson School of Leadership Studies for their achievements.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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Wilton House Museum, 215 S. Wilton Rd., will present “A Georgian Folly for the 21st Century” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Interior designer, architect and preservationist Ralph Harvard will… Full text

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