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Front Royal “Miracle Kid” awaits life-preserving lung transplant

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Stacie Mikels and daughter Noelle, the "Miracle Kid," following Rotary Club of Front Royal's check presentation. Photo by Jennifer McDonald

Ten-year-old “Miracle Kid” Noelle Mikels was en route for a long-awaited lung transplant at a Pittsburgh hospital last week when an urgent cell phone message advised her parents to turn back – the transplant wasn’t a match.

How long has her daughter been awaiting the life-saving organ transplant?

“Two hundred and sixty days,” chipped in Noelle as I talked to her mother, Stacie, who explained that Noelle was born prematurely. Her lungs never developed, she said, to where they could cope and Noelle has been constantly on oxygen to survive for the entire past decade.

There are high points and low points in this Front Royal youngster’s fight for life. The phone call from her medical team was a low point.

Two days later (Sept. 14) proved to be a high point. Instead of lying in a distant hospital bed, Noelle was with her mother at a Front Royal Rotary Club meeting, surprised and delighted by the presentation of a $4,297 check to help with Noelle’s considerable expenses, only partly covered by health insurance. Public donations to the “Miracle Kid’s” family so far amount to about $40,000 for which the parents express great gratitude.

Stacie and Noelle Mikels (right) receive Rotary check from past president Rick Novak (left) and fund raising organizer, Jeanian Clark /Photo by Bret Hrbek.

Stacey refers to her daughter as “my hero, my angel” and Noelle responds with a happy disposition and straight “As” as a 5th-grade student. Warren County schools provide Noelle with a teacher, “Miss Joyce,” who visits her Shenandoah Farms home three days a week. Noelle is the second of two children born to Ross and Stacie Mikels since arriving in Front Royal in 2005. The other is their son, Andon, age 12.

Ross works in Sterling, VA, at Superior Iron Works and is given the time off he needs to tend his daughter. Stacey works locally for “Moms in Motion,” which advocates for people with disabilities.

When Noelle’s turn comes for her surgery – she was listed for the transplant last December, or as she puts it, “260 days ago” – she will spend three months at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital before discharge into an otherwise typical life of a 10–year-old youngster with an A-level scholastic average.

“She looks forward to that,” said her mother.

Of course!

She’s a “Miracle Kid.” .

Community Events

WATCH: American Legion Community Band 2018 Christmas Concert

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The American Legion Community Band presented its annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the R-MA Boggs Chapel in Front Royal.  It was a free concert although a love offering was collected totaling $785 for the local C-CAP charity. There was music to please everyone, including traditional carols, a beautiful chorale and light-hearted selections delighting kids and grown-ups alike. The Royal Examiner’s camera was there to capture the event.  Now take time, watch and welcome Christmas with the celebration of music presented by the American Legion Band.

The American Legion Community Band performs at a variety of concerts and community festivals throughout the year. All performances are free and open to the public. Their repertoire is both versatile and traditional with works ranging from classical to popular, marches and operatic overtures to modern works for band. The band is sponsored by the Giles B. Cook Post #53 of the American Legion.

We spoke with the Conductors Ed Richards, Ron Dye and Kristen Fristoe after the concert.

Also there was a special guest in the audience. All he said was his name was “Nick”.

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Daytime lane closures for lane striping on I66 between Route 28 and I-495 on December 19th

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FAIRFAX, Va. – Rolling double-lane closures will take place on eastbound I-66 between Route 28 (Sully Road) and I-495 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and westbound on I-66 between I-495 and Route 28 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 19. Crews will be refreshing pavement markings as part of the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project.

Drivers are advised to use caution and expect potential delays.

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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Checkpoint Strikeforce

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The Front Royal Police Department will be participating in Virginia’s 17th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and enforcement will be from December 18th – January 3, 2019. This campaign is geared toward spreading awareness and to combat the rise in drunk driving deaths this holiday season. The 2018 campaign, which Governor Northam helped launch in August, combines high-visibility enforcement with researched based advertising to remind likely offenders to get a safe ride home.

Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement mobilization, the Front Royal Police Department will be conducting checkpoints and extra officers will be conducting saturation patrols during this holiday season.

“This time of year brings loved ones from all over the Commonwealth together to celebrate the holiday season,” said Chief Kahle Magalis “With the increased traffic, extra law enforcement officers will be working to apprehend impaired drivers and ensure our citizens get home safely to their families.”

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High Knob home destroyed in Sunday fire, cause unknown

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A late-night Sunday fire destroyed the home and vehicles at 81 Trent Trail Court in High Knob, county officials say. / Warren County Fire & Rescue photos.

WARREN COUNTY  – A late-night Sunday evening fire destroyed a Warren County home in the High Know Mountain neighborhood, according to a media release from Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.

The release states that around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, fire and rescue units were dispatched to 81 Trent Trail Court for a reported residential structure fire. The 911 caller reported that visible flames could be seen on the exterior of the home and that the blaze had spread to two parked vehicles and the siding of the home.

Two vehicles were also destroyed in the fire, according to Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.

The first unit arriving on the scene around 11:10 p.m. reported two passenger vehicles and a single-story, single family home involved in fire. Additionally, the fire was threatening additional structures and wildland areas surrounding them because the house was situated below the grade of the adjoining access road, as well as being perched along a steep ravine.

Maiatico said firefighters took a defensive approach and attempted to protect exposures until the arrival of additional resources.

During the incident, according to the release, firefighters encountered extreme hazardous conditions, including: below freezing temperatures, prevailing winds, icy roads, limited water supply, and difficult access. Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night and morning to ensure full extinguishment of the fire and to ensure there was no threat to adjoining properties.

Though the fire totaled the home, no one was hurt in the incident, officials say.

The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Maiatico said that though Investigators have worked meticulously alongside the homeowner’s insurance company to determine the cause of the blaze, no conclusion has been reached.

The home, two vehicles, and an outbuilding were deemed a total loss. There were no reported injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Fire Investigator Raymond Cross at 540-636-3830 or email rcross@warrencountyfire.com.

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Elks Lodge, Police provide an early Christmas to some area families

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(L-R)Sergeant R. Seal, Major K. Nicewarner, Chief K. Magalis, Detective Z. King, MPO T. Clingerman, Officer R. Lowery and Officer J. Seal with Santa & Mrs. Claus and Elroy.
Some 50 local children were feted at the Elks’ Lodge on Guard Hill Road recently.
The Dec.8 party provided the children an opportunity to get to know some of Front Royal’s police contingent who handed out presents, purchased with a $2,500 Elks National Foundation Promise grant, along with Santa Claus who did his share of the gifting.
Another highlight for the kids was the pizzas provided by the Melting Pot, Fox’s and Anthony’s.
Local Walmart manager Rob Morris brought along members of Front Royal Fire Softball team. Walmart donated 30 boxes of food for needy families and team members distributed them.
Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharp and Elroy the Elk also attended.

Two of the children who received bicycles and new safety helmets.

Walmart manager Rob Morris with some of the softball team.

Sergeant Robbie Seal & Elk Lodge Secretary, Jane Wine (on either side of Elroy) co-chaired the event again this year.

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Front Royal World War II veteran’s memory honored 74 years on

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At left, sister Charlotte of Stephens City and nephew William Hallman of Front Royal. At right, nephews Sam and John Hallman of Front Royal, and niece Belinda Hallman. Todd Lewis photo.

On Dec. 17, 1944, a 21-year-old soldier from Front Royal was killed on the World War II battlefield in Europe.

On Dec. 16, 2018, 74 years later, members of his family gathered at his grave site in Front Royal’s historic Pioneer Cemetery to honor his memory.

Todd Lewis, who recently moved to Warren County and is a self-styled wartime historian, brought the group together after researching the soldier’s history. His narrative will be cited and the local soldier will be honored at next year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Gazebo.

The soldier, who lost his life in the famed Battle of the Bulge – specifically the Malmeday Massacre – was Samuel Albert Hallman, born and educated in Front Royal and, when he enlisted, was working on the building of the former American Viscous site under the aegis of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hallman, in the final year of the war, arrived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for boot camp, then immediately was assigned to active duty in France and Belgium.

Pvt. Samuel Albert Hallman (left) with wartime buddy. Archive photo.

Less than a few months later, Hallman, a fresh-faced private with Battery B, 285 Field Artillery Observation Battalion, was dead, his name later etched on the memorial to all local Second World War veterans who died in the conflict. That memorial stands in the Warren County Courthouse grounds in downtown Front Royal.

Among family survivors who live in Warren County, and who were at the Pioneer Cemetery last Sunday, was Charlotte Partlowe of Stephens City, Hallman’s one remaining sister, now in her eighties and seven years younger than her brother, Sam. She said after the war their mother, Odessa, received Samuel’s decoration, the Purple Heart, from the war department. She recalled Sam going straight out to work from grade school to the CCC as a construction worker.

“Those were days (in the 1930s) when times were poor and jobs hard to get,” she recalled. She said her brother had turned 21 when he died. She would have been about 14. Charlotte recalled that during his youth Samuel was an ardent hunter and fisherman.

While there are more Hallmans in and outside the area, those who mourned at his graveside Sunday included three nephews, William, 60; John, 54; and Sam, 46, all of Front Royal. Sister Charlotte attended along with a niece, Belinda Hallman.

Faulkner, who did the research on Hallman, said the Malmeday Massacre, part of the better-known Battle of the Bulge, involved German SS troops firing first on Hallman’s battery, many of which stood, hands raised in surrender. They were mowed down by the German troops. Faulkner said Hallman survived the initial assault, making it to the shelter of a hedgerow, making plans to escape. In a break for it, Samuel was hit and severely wounded. Members of a tank crew walked down the lane where the Front Royal man was lying with his fellow soldiers. The German SS shot each of them to death with their pistols.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower spread news of the killings among American troops, later described as “the biggest massacre in U.S. Army history,” to effectively spur them on to eventual victory in the key Battle of the Bulge.

Samuel Albert Hallman – R.I.P.

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Upcoming Events

Dec
20
Thu
3:00 pm St. Luke Community Clinic Annual... @ St. Luke Community Clinic
St. Luke Community Clinic Annual... @ St. Luke Community Clinic
Dec 20 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
St. Luke Community Clinic Annual Holiday Open House @ St. Luke Community Clinic
STOP IN FOR A FOR HOLIDAY COOKIES AND TREATS, MEET THE STAFF, AND TOUR THE CLINIC!
6:30 pm Oil painting for the non painter @ Strokes of Creativity
Oil painting for the non painter @ Strokes of Creativity
Dec 20 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Oil painting for the non painter @ Strokes of Creativity
Come join Gloria Howarton, self taught artist, and explore the rich medium of oil painting. This is a 4 week Thursday Evening Class from 6:30-9:00 pm. The dates are 12/06/2018, 12/13/2018 , 12/20/2018 and 1/3/2019[...]
Dec
24
Mon
10:00 am Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Dec 24 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Create your own 5″ x 7″ koi fish paper sculpture with your friends! Schedule your own party for up to 8 people (3-person minimum). No drawing skills are necessary. Artist Tiffany Budzisz will walk you[...]
2:00 pm Annual Community Christmas Dinner @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptarment
Annual Community Christmas Dinner @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptarment
Dec 24 @ 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Community Christmas Dinner @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptarment
This is the fourth year of the Annual Community Christmas Dinner being held! It is on Christmas Eve, December 24th from 2 to 7pm at Front Royal Volunteer Fire Dept. A hot meal is provided with turkey[...]
Dec
25
Tue
9:00 am 2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 25 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Now Accepting Applications for 2019 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything[...]