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Getting To Know ... Ginger Higgins

<bt>Ginger Higgins is a member of the Burke community who is active in Multiple Sclerosis forums and events. She has received a Multiple Sclerosis award for the dedication she demonstrated when raising awareness and funds to support assistance programs and research for MS. She is this week's People Profile.

Number of years in the community: I've lived all my life in Northern Virginia; having grown up in Woodbridge. I moved from Kingstowne to Burke two years ago when I purchased a house in Greenfield Farms.

Family: I have no family living with me unless you count Jimmy, my cat, who has no idea he is a cat. My parents, Jerry and Sandy Bahorich, live in Ebony, Va., on Lake Gaston, where they moved upon their retirement. My brother, Jerry, still lives in our childhood home in Woodbridge, and my sister lives in Ashboro, N.C.

Education: Graduated summa cum laude from Strayer University with a bachelor's degree in business and I have a certificate in federal contracting from George Mason University.

Current job/primary occupation? I work for a large IT company in the area. I am a sub-contract administrator supporting an IT services and solutions contract with the United States Postal Service.

Achievements: I have hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim. I have participated in the three-day, 50-mile National Multiple Sclerosis Society's MS Challenge Walk each year since its inception in 2003. Last year, I built a Team of Walkers for the event. I received the National MS Society, National Capital Chapter Special Events award for my dedication to raising awareness and funds to support local MS assistance programs and research. I renovated the entire inside of the fixer-upper home I purchased in 2003. Most of the work I did with very little or no outside assistance — except the electrical work.

Activities/interests/hobbies? When I in the car, every chance I get, I like listening to books-on-tape. I garden and enjoy do-it-yourself home projects. I like doing a variety of crafts. I design logos for chapters of a running/social group to which I belong, and assist in purchasing screen-printed and embroidered items with logos on them. I love to walk. When the weather is good, I am out walking anywhere, anytime. I enjoy planning and organizing large special events, including geographic location planning, venues, catering, attendee registration, give-away items, etc.

Favorite local restaurant or place in the community? The friendly staff and some of the other regular customers at the Caribou Coffee in Kings Park Shopping Center keep me going back for my coffee/latte fix each morning!

What are your community concerns? I am concerned that the area's "small town" atmosphere will be lost as the prices of housing rise more and more. I worry that some of the smaller neighborhoods will become less owner occupied and more rental property oriented; that the quality of care will diminish as owners move out of the area and chose to simply rent out their homes. I worry about the upkeep and long-term maintenance of the park and lake areas. I would love to see the area businesses join together and develop some sort of welcome packet for new residents. I think it might be nice if some of the neighborhood homeowner's associations joined together for joint community activities once in awhile.

What brought you here? Affordable housing in a clean quiet neighborhood within a larger community close to shopping, commuting, and all that Northern Virginia/D.C. has to offer. I like the fact that on the weekends, if I want to go shopping, I don't have to fight too much traffic. I like the amount of open outdoor areas that Burke has and love the lakes!

What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? The many trails and walking paths in and around the housing areas and around the lakes.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an art teacher.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Truthfully, I usually don't think in terms of years. I think about getting through today, tomorrow and next week and making the most of the individual days.

Personal goals? Now that I've basically completed the renovations on the inside of my home, I'd like to spend time this coming spring and summer creating a nice peaceful garden sanctuary in my backyard. I plan to continue walking and participating with the National MS Society, and doing what I can to raise awareness and funding for local area assistance programs and research. My summer goal is to reach out to some of the local Burke businesses and gain their support for my team's fund raising efforts for this year's MS Challenge Walk.