Henrico County VA
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Feeling right at home


The Woodshedders (at top) perform during 'Bluebird at the Hipp,' an event at The Hippodrome Theater in Richmond Feb. 20 designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Henrico Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

The Bluebird is a café in Nashville where musicians find a "safe" home. CASA volunteers work to ensure safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children. Funds raised from the event (which charged $125 per ticket) and its silent auction benefit Henrico CASA, which works with the Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

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.

VBS seeks O-negative blood donors for newborns, premies

During the month of May, Virginia Blood Services is seeking to honor mothers and other caregivers of children by encouraging people who are blood type O-negative to donate blood on behalf of the area’s newborns and premature babies.

“There is such great joy to see a mother and her healthy baby. By having an optimal inventory of O-negative blood on our shelves, we can ensure that patients in need will receive this great gift of life,” said Julie Moore, executive director of Virginia Blood Services. “This Mother’s Day, we want to create awareness of the constant need for O-negative blood.”

O-negative blood is known as the “universal” blood type because it can be transfused to any patient in need.

In celebration of the American dream


In 1978, Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution to commemorate the first week of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Thereafter, in May 1992, the entire month of May was designated as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

During the celebrations in the month of May, different Asian communities celebrate the importance and accomplishments of their respective cultures with a pageantry of festivals and government sponsored educational activities.

However, I wanted to expand upon the celebration of what it means to be not just an Asian-American but an American of Asian heritage. I do so by sharing our journey to and in this wonderful nation with the hopes that in reading this, our children can understand how people from different backgrounds contribute to the beautiful tapestry of the American experience.

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