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In June 1987, Kristi Brown of Springfield had just completed her freshman year at the University of Virginia and was driving home when she was killed in an automobile accident on the Capital Beltway.

Three weeks ago, the girls’ basketball team at West Springfield High School — along with other volunteers — took 56 children shopping at Target in Brown’s memory. The children, all students at Fairfax County schools, were identified by principals, counselors and social workers to be in great need.

Brown had been a member of DECA — Distributive Education Club of America — at West Springfield. One year, she participated in a club-sponsored Christmas shopping party for economically disadvantaged youngsters; it made an impression on her.

Using that program as a model, Bill and Karen Brown established a fund in their daughter’s memory, and for 25 years “Kristi’s Christmas” has been delivering gifts to children in need. The West Springfield Rotary Club is a partner in this effort.

The Dec. 3 event started at the Waterford Hotel in Springfield, where the children ate breakfast and were each paired with two buddies for the shopping trip. Each child also was given $115 to spend on clothes, school supplies, shoes and other necessities.

Afterward, the group returned to the Waterford for a Christmas party, where the children met a bilingual Santa and Mrs. Claus, and received a teddy bear, sleeping bag, school supplies and personal items.

For more about Kristi’s Christmas, visit

Military salutes

Army Cadets Ermin Mujezinovic and Christian Gore have enrolled in the Army ROTC program at Virginia Military Institute. Upon graduation and completion of ROTC military science courses at VMI, the cadets will receive bachelor's degrees and commissions of second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Mujezinovic, the son of Refik and Azira Mujezinovic of Falls Church, graduated in 2007 from Herndon High School.

Gore, the son of Chadwick Gore and Suzann Scholte of Falls Church, graduated in 2008 from Jeb Stuart High School.

Army Spec. Alisha Saddler has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla. She earned distinction as an honor graduate.

Saddler, the daughter of Richard and Barbara Saddler of Fairfax, earned a bachelor's degree in 2010 from Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Warren Macomber has been decorated with the Bronze Star Medal. He is a communication cable and antenna specialist assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base in Korea and has served in the military for 10 years.

Macomber, the son of Charles Macomber of Springfield, graduated in 1993 from Robert E. Lee High School and received an associate degree in 2004 from the Community College of the Air Force.

First lady names award recipients

Virginina first lady Maureen McDonnell announced the First Lady’s Opportunity Hall of Fame award recipients at the second awards luncheon Dec. 16 in Richmond. The awards are part of the First Lady’s Initiatives Team Effort, which she launched last year to recognize programs, activities, organizations and individuals who embody the ideal of creating a Commonwealth of Opportunity in their communities.

Five individuals and groups received the First Lady’s Opportunity Hall of Fame Award; 18 groups and individuals received the First Lady’s Opportunity Seal of Approval; and one group received the Continuing Recognition certificate.

The recipients work in one of four key areas: health and wellness; economic development, with a specific focus on the Virginia wine, film and tourism industries; military families; and women.

Six of the honored groups are from Fairfax County. Virginia Horses for Heroes in Falls Church received the First Lady’s Opportunity Hall of Fame Award. Horses for Heroes provides equine therapy to wounded military and veterans through various therapeutic riding programs throughout the Commonwealth.

The First Lady’s Opportunity Seal of Approval Award went to these recipients: Development of an International Market for Virginia Wine, Reston; Jill's House, Vienna; Let’s Give Back, Reston; MyNeighbors Network, Great Falls; Quality of Life Plus, McLean; and Troop Treats, McLean.

Four to serve on state boards

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced several appointments to Virginia boards and commissions on Dec. 16.

Anderson “Andy” Williams of Alexandria was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Council for Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion.

Julien Patterson of Oakton, CEO of OMNIPLEX World Services Corp., was appointed to the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors.

Ron Wright of Herndon, president and CEO of JNetDirect, and Yobair Younossi of Fairfax Station, vice president of Research for Inova Health Systems and chair of the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Hospital, were appointed to the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority Board of Directors. This was a reappointment for Younossi.

Montgomery to direct Mason ministry program

United College Ministries in Northern Virginia, an ecumenical campus ministry at George Mason University, announced the Rev. Mark Montgomery will be its new minister director.

Montgomery, a United Methodist elder related to the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, will begin his ministry with UCMNV on Jan. 1. Montgomery is a graduate of McMurry University and Duke Divinity School. He previously served as a campus ministry intern at McMurry University and as associate pastor at Grace UMC in Corpus Christi. He chairs the Southwest Texas Young Adult Council.

Woman’s Club donates $9,600

The Woman’s Club of McLean donated $9,600 to eight local charities and nonprofits, presenting checks to the organizations’ representatives at its monthly meeting Dec. 6. The recipients were the McLean Project for the Arts, Share Inc., Alternative House, Capital Hospice, Girls’ State, Fisher House, Claude Moore Colonial Farm and the McLean Volunteer Fire Department.

The club’s 45th annual Holiday Homes Tour took place Dec. 8. The annual event is the sole source of funds for the club’s projects. All profits from the tour are returned to the community in the form of service projects and donations throughout the year.