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Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

Army National Guard Pvt. Sareth Sum has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Roeun Neng of S. Dearing, Fresno, Calif., and niece of Bonnie Sam of Lamoreaux Landing Square, Ashburn. Sum is a 2004 graduate of Sunnyside High School, Fresno.

Brownie Troop 5500 and Junior Troop 4713 of Sterling Service Unit 70-8 shipped 50 cases of cookies to U.S. Troops overseas. Individual citizens paid for the cookies and immediately donated them to the Girl Scouts gift of caring program. Half are headed to two U.S. hospitals, one in Baghdad, the other in Germany. The rest are headed directly to service personnel from the Leesburg/Sterling area who are stationed in Afghanistan.

Cris Lindsay, owner of Lindsay's Salon in Leesburg, organized a fund-raiser for the Red Feather Development Group and raised $33,000. The event was held April 9 at Great Country Farms in Bluemont. Red Feather Development helps Native Americans on reservations to build their own homes and the money raised will go towards construction of a straw-bale home in Arizona. A special guest for the evening was Robert Young, founder and executive director of Red Feather Development. The evening included a Native American dance demonstration by members of the Rappahannock Tribe, whose homeland is the Tidewater area of Virginia. Musical entertainment was provided by Jon Carroll and Cathy Ponton King.

The Loudoun County Commission on Women will honor the winners of the 2005 Outstanding Women of Loudoun County awards at a luncheon Tuesday, May 3, at the Holiday Inn Leesburg at Carradoc Hall. The nine recipients of this year's Outstanding Women of Loudoun County awards are Loudoun residents who were selected for their efforts in the following areas: Arts and Cultural Affairs, Linda Holtslander, assistant director of the Loudoun County Public Library; Business and Career Development, Wanda Alexander is the founder and CEO of Horizon Consulting Incorporated in Lansdowne; Community Service, from Loudoun Volunteer Services, Leigh Ann Macklin, president, and Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator in the Loudoun County Office of Public Information, and Marilyn "Lynn" Hicks, a member of the Eastern Loudoun County Library Advisory Board; Education, Eleanor Voldish, executive director of Loudoun Association for Retarded Citizens; Leadership, Melissa MacKimm, president of the Zonta Club of Loudoun; Public Safety, Sherri L. Fawzi is a day care center director, volunteer with Loudoun Child Care Network, and founder of the Virginia Rescue Training Center in Leesburg; and Women's Health, Joy Corriher, vice president of patient care services of Loudoun Healthcare Services.

Pam Rackley of Sterling earned the award of Competent Toastmaster from Toastmasters International. Rackley is a member of the Loudoun Toastmasters. The award is considered the first step in becoming a proficient public speaker. Toastmasters is a public speaking group, which helps people helps people communicate better, visit www.geocities.com/loudountm/.

Army Pfc. Edward S. Caldwell is deploying to Afghanistan to serve as a member of Combined Joint Task Force-76 (CJTF-76). The soldier is regularly assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade based at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy.

CJTF-76 is a combined and joint rotation unit supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The soldier will join other units that comprise CJTF-76 to help the Afghan people continue on their progress to a free society. Mission objectives of the combined joint task force include establishing security, defeating Al-Qaida and Taliban forces and deterring the re-emergence of terrorism.

Caldwell, an airborne infantryman with less than two years of military service, is the son of Edward S. and Tracy R. Caldwell of Leesburg. He is a 2003 graduate of Loudoun County High School, Leesburg.

At its Jefferson Jackson Dinner April 29, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee presented its second annual Outstanding Democrats awards to: Outstanding Elected Official: Sally Kurtz, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors; Outstanding Commonwealth Statesmanship: Gov. Mark Warner; Outstanding Business, Cultural and Community Leader: Dr. Sheila Johnson; Outstanding Civic Activist: retired Sen. Charlie Waddell.

Army Pfc. Branden I. Mattos has graduated from One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla. The training included completion of basic military training and advanced individual training (AIT).

In basic training, the soldier received instruction in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history and traditions.

During AIT, the soldier completed the Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember Advanced Individual Training course. Trainees learned to maintain, prepare and load ammunition for firing; operate and perform operator maintenance on prime movers, self-propelled Howitzers, and ammunition vehicles; and perform crew maintenance and participate in organizational maintenance of weapons and related equipment. They also learned to establish and maintain radio and wire communications.

Mattos is the son of Brenda Kaanehe of Leesburg.