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Towns & Villages Column by Billie VanPay

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Monday, Jan. 19, 2015
Mosby Heritage Area Association
by Billie Van Pay

The MHAA has enjoyed being one of the most influential and valued resources in the Northern Virginia Piedmont, the area where the Civil War hero, John Singleton Mosby, fought with the Mosby’s Rangers. The association has not only provided leadership in education regarding the national and the region’s history, but has also helped fund the preservation of many historic places by means of this education. Formed in 1995, the MHAA has had excellent leadership as it has grown. Now in 2015, the association is making a major change, a change announced at a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 8, at the MHAA Headquarters at Atoka just west of Middleburg on the John Mosby Highway.

MHAA President Childs Burden has had excellent support from the staff, the board of directors and many generous sponsors and volunteers through the years while the association continued to grow and become a major resource. Judy Reynolds, the Executive Director of MHAA for 14 years, has just retired.

Richard T. Gillespie of Taylorstown is the new Executive Director of MHAA. He has been with the association since his retirement from teaching in 2004. He has both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Gillespie is highly qualified also in experience as according to MHAA, “He has been particularly active in local history circles, having worked at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park for many seasons, served as Director of Education for Morven Park, worked as an interpreter at Oatlands, and served as co-founder of the Loudoun Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee as well as volunteering at almost every major historical site in Loudoun at one time or another. He currently serves on several local boards, including the Loudoun Heritage Commission, and teaches a course for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground. "

Joining Gillespie on the MHAA leadership team will be Jennifer Worcester Moore, who has been with MHAA since August of 2012. She is a graduate of Mary Washington College and is well versed in MHAA’s mission of preservation through education. Moore will be serving as Director of Administration now, handling membership, fundraising, and public relations.
Monday, Jan. 12, 2015
Art at Common Grounds
One of the most popular gathering places in the town of Middleburg is Common Grounds at 114 West Washington Street. The business is open seven days a week, and it’s a favorite place for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snacks. There’s a variety of really good sandwiches, salads and beverages on the menu, the coffee is excellent, and the service is courteous. Families, friends and business associates meet there to enjoy visiting in the relaxed atmosphere of the service area inside and on the patio in good weather. It’s a family owned and operated business and a very happy gathering place.

There is always something attractive on the walls, usually art work of the local artists, and because the town is in the heart of “Hunt Country,” the art usually has something to do with horses. The new exhibit is by two local artists, Deborah Morrow and Michelle Robbins. Their artwork shows, not only their exceptional talent as artists, but also how well they both know and understand what most people love about the area -- the horses, the hounds, the hunts, the races, the shows and the scenery.

Deborah Morrow says, “I grew up next to a Thoroughbred horse farm and started to draw horses at the age of three. I was offered a work study in my high school graphic arts program and began working as a graphic designer after graduation. I worked in the graphic arts field by designing a number of things --books, logos, illustrations -- and working in production sales and viewing color for the many museums in the D.C. area. A course in medical illustration at Maryland Institute of Art gave me insight into animal care, which I love.

In 2001, I relocated to Virginia, began photographing horses, and working with transferring images onto different surfaces. I photographed the Rolex three- day event in Lexington, Kentucky, for seven years, work which provided twenty published covers. I worked with a breeder of Dutch warm-bloods from Holland for several years and have taken care of horses all around the Loudoun County area, using my camera for images. My art pieces can be seen at Mad Horse Brewpub in Lovettsville and the festivals around the area. These are original paintings, mixed media pieces, transfers of photos onto tile, old plates and barn wood. I studied music for ten years, and my love of music is expressed in my recent series, ‘The Country Music Mares’ – abstracts named after a well-known country singer.” See more information about Deborah Morrow’s art work at DeborahMorrowPhotography.smugmug.com , visit http://www.cafepress.com/cowgirlsmiles see h,er Facebook page, or call her at (859) 806-6802.

Michelle Robbins’s work is part of the art displayed at Common Grounds. She too grew up around horses-- taking riding lessons, entering shows and drawing horses. She has a degree in equestrian science from William Woods University, received a degree in advertizing from Rhode Island School of Design, and studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has worked in NY City and Los Angeles for various ad agencies and studios. Robbins lives in Middleburg, has worked for the Chronicle of the Horse and at Wylie Wagg, one of Middleburg’s stores. Presently she paints portraits on commission. This art exhibit for viewing and for sale will be at Common Grounds throughout the month of January.

Fund for Local Editor

One of Middleburg’s favorite community members, Deanne (DeeDee) Hubbard, editor of the Middleburg Eccentric and well-known civic leader, had a tragic circumstance recently. Her home burned for the second time. Whenever there is hard work done in the community for the benefit of the town and area, Hubbard and her family will be there working and getting involved. Punkin Lee, president of the Middleburg Business and Professional Association, and Genie Ford, another member of the association, both community leaders also, have organized a fund to help their friend DeeDee with her expenses. Those who would like to contribute can access GoFundMe online and go to “Help DeeDee Rebuild after 2 Fires” or contribute directly to the fund through the Middleburg Bank.
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Therapeutic Riding Center Receives Awards
By Billie Van Pay

Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center located at 40685 Mosby Hwy., Aldie, has become an excellent resource for Loudoun and other neighboring counties. Its stated mission as a non-profit organization is to provide assisted activities and therapies to individuals seeking opportunities for growth, to raise public awareness about special needs, and to provide dynamic learning, social recreation, and therapy opportunities for individuals and groups in a farm environment.

Brooke Waldron is the director, and she, her staff and the volunteers all work in a first-class facility which is sufficient to support the programs. The center is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) which ensures excellence in safety, instruction and program standards. The skilled instructors, the trained horses, the caring volunteers and supportive donors work to provide programs that include mounted lessons, ground-work lessons, community-based instruction and a variety of group activities.

As a non-profit organization, the students only pay a portion of their costs, and without donations and volunteers, many of the students would not be able to participate in this form of therapy. The director announced that eight volunteers from the Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center in Aldie have been awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award by President Obama. These volunteers each logged over one hundred hours of service to the riding center from May 2013 through April 2014. Five adults and three high-school students were awarded the honor. Allan Leach, Whitney Leach, Emily Maddox, Diana Newmiller, Brian Nutter, Amy Perez, Miriam Reyes-Jensen, and Kendall Richardson are all part of a team of over 200 volunteers who provide riding assistance to over 400 riders who have participated in Sprout’s therapeutic riding programs annually. Sprout’s volunteers come from Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Prince William County, Fairfax County, and Loudoun County.

The Presidential Service Award is awarded annually to volunteers who volunteer at official certifying organizations that meet specific and stringent criteria as organizations that build community through the service it provides and through the volunteers that help provide the service. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created this award in 2003 to honor and encourage volunteerism in the United States.

Sprout is privileged to have these volunteers as part of its team of volunteers who help brighten the lives of many who come to Sprout each week to learn, to laugh, to live, and to thrive with and through horses. The mailing address for the center is P.O. Box 8, Aldie, Va. 20105. The telephone is (571) 367-4555 and the email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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