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United they run

Hermitage HS wins national relay title

It may have seemed as if there were the usual number of runners on the Hermitage H.S. sprint medley relay team that won the national championship in June.

But behind the foursome of Jaylen Banks, Dallas Carter, Edwin Mejia and Devin Barnes, there were a number of unseen hands and supporters helping to clear their path to the championship and propel them over the finish line in first place.

In a run that their coach called "amazing," the boys led the field from the very beginning of the race and claimed the title with a margin of 1.6 seconds. According to Milestat.com, which compiles high school meet results, the boys "attacked" the event, and only one team ever had a chance of catching them.

5K race to fulfill Cameron Gallagher’s dream

The impact of a Douglas Freeman High School student who died earlier this year after running a half-marathon will live on through a new race whose details will be announced later this week.

The Speak Up 5K race will honor the life and legacy of 16-year-old Cameron Gallagher, who died after finishing the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach March 16. Officials with the Cameron K. Gallagher Memorial Fund will sponsor a Speak Up 5K kickoff event May 31 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Brown's Island in Richmond to share details about the race.

Fresh Air Fund seeks host families

The Fresh Air Fund, which provides free summer experiences to children from low-income communities in New York City each summer, is seeking local families who are willing to host a child this summer.

Host families in 13 states, from Virginia to Maine, help provide the children with new experiences in settings they may not otherwise be able to visit. Fresh Air children experience simple pleasures like running barefoot through the grass, swimming in a cool lake and gazing at star-filled skies.

Middleton, Robinson to serve as marshals in Memorial Day Parade


The American Legion Sandston Posts 242 and 144 will host several ceremonies and events in honor of Memorial Day May 26.

This year’s theme is “Honoring Vietnam Veterans: 50 Years.” The schedule will include a memorial service at Seven Pines National Cemetery at noon; the sixth-annual Sandston Memorial Day Parade on Williamsburg Road at 1 p.m., led by grand marshals Douglas Middleton (the Henrico County chief of police and a Vietnam veteran himself) and NFL player Michael Robinson (who is a Varina High School graduate and who won a Super Bowl title with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year); and post-parade celebration at Sandston Ball Fields, 11 J.B. Finley St. at 2:30 p.m., featuring the Barracudas.

Dean of Henrico

Sculptor Paul DiPasquale and Donna Meade, the widow of the late musician Jimmy Dean, May 11 helped to unveil a newly commissioned bronze statue of Dean at the Richmond Marriott. The event preceded the Jimmy Dean Music Festival, which benefitted Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield. DiPasquale created the sculpture for the Jimmy Dean Museum, to be opened at Wayland Baptist University in Dean’s hometown of Plainview, Tex. Dean and Meade lived together in Varina for 20 years until Dean’s death in June 2010.

Getting hosed

The second annual Virginia Firefighter Games brought together firefighters from throughout the region to compete before several thousand spectators in a number of intense events designed to replicate the rigors they face during their jobs. All proceeds from the event went to charity, including Old Dominion Burn Foundation and Feed More.

All creatures great and small

The Richmond Pet Expo brought together animals of all types and sizes earlier this month at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

The expo featured more than 100 exhibitors, live entertainment, demonstrations and an adoption area. Author and celebrity dog trainer Harrison Forbes spoke about a new trend in pet ownership – doggie DNA testing.

Lebanese Food Festival celebrating its 30th year

At Saint Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church in Glen Allen everyone is family, everyone has pride in their culture, and everyone has been preparing months in advance for the 30thannual Lebanese Food Festival May 16-18.

The festival – as it has throughout its lengthy history – will celebrate Lebanese food and culture, as well as the importance of family and tradition.

Sandra Brown, a lifelong member of St. Anthony’s and one of the many festival volunteers, said that the Lebanese Food Festival is something that she simply was born into. The church has more than 300 families with generations of Lebanese backgrounds, including her own (both her parents are Lebanese).

Refugees arrived in pursuit of ‘a romantic life’


Editor’s Note: This is the third and final article in a series about Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees living in Henrico County.

“It was like a dream. I was very scared,” said Hem Bhattarai, one of the many Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees now living in Henrico County, recalling the overwhelming nature of arriving in America from a refugee camp in Nepal. “I had never traveled in a plane before, and I had never seen a country like this.”

The Bhattarai family’s arrival at Richmond International Airport was the final step of a journey that began in 1991. For all of the drama that journey contained, this last leg was an anticlimactic affair as they walked off the plane and into the malaise of an empty airport late at night.

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