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Community Lodgings Celebrates 25 Years, Raises $40,000

Community Lodgings board chairman Chris McMurray, left, presents Harriet Owusu with the Outstanding Achievement Award as her mentor, Besu Feleke of BB&T Bank, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran and Mayor Bill Euille look on.

Community Lodgings board chairman Chris McMurray, left, presents Harriet Owusu with the Outstanding Achievement Award as her mentor, Besu Feleke of BB&T Bank, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran and Mayor Bill Euille look on.

More than 170 people turned out April 15 for the 7th annual “Spring Forward to Union Street,” a fundraiser to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Community Lodgings that also recognized program participant Harriet Owusu for her exceptional strides in attaining self-sufficiency.

“I know where I came from,” said Owusu, a young mother from Ghana with two small children. “I have no family here but knew I had to do something to make a future for my kids.”

For the third year, Union Street Public House donated the venue and food for the event, which raised more than $40,000 for programs that serve homeless and low-income families.

The evening featured a silent auction that included a trip to watch a taping of ESPN's Emmy-winning show “Pardon the Interruption” and culminated with an awards presentation that renamed the Outstanding Achievement Award in honor of retiring board chairman Chris McMurray.

In addition to Union Street Public House, sponsors for the evening included Landmark Honda, Nixon Peabody, The Paddle Home Group, Your Dog's Best Friend, Marie Muscella, Donna Cramer of McEnearney Associates, BB&T, Speck-Cauldron Investments, Systems Engineering Group, John Marshall Bank and Jack Taylor's Toyota.

“This is about our neighbors,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), who along with Mayor Bill Euille presented Owusu with her award.

“Children suffer for reasons totally out of their control and Community Lodgings is there to provide them with housing and mentoring and to give them a vision of a better future and the confidence to achieve that future.”

Community Lodgings' mission is to lift families from homelessness and instability to independence and self-sufficiency through Transitional and Affordable Housing Programs and Youth and Adult Education Programs. For more information call 703-549-4407 or visit www.communitylodgings.org.