On a cold but briefly sunny winter day, more than 50 mostly merrily clad swimmers plunged into the Virginia 4-H Center’s Lake Culpeper and quickly exited, laughing happily, to encouraging hoots and shouts from a crowd exceeding some 100 onlookers on Saturday, February 1.
Due to its instant popularity – and unexpected financial success – this was the first of what promises to be many “Polar Plunges” in years to come to raise money for the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter.
Ellen Aders, president of the Human Society of Warren County (HSWC), led the initial charge into the icy waters along with members of her board of directors. Her group was followed in quick succession by groups of 8 to 10 “swimmers” with everyone safely back ashore within about 15 minutes. A parked ambulance and a county rescue crew remained watchful but unoccupied from a roadway above the lake.
A $7,000 goal was set by event organizer and Humane Society of Warren County Executive Director Meghan Bowers. She and her board happily announced that almost $10,000 was contributed by the plungers through individual sponsorships led by Molly Llewellyn ($1,000), followed by Roxanne Bauserman ($700), Shelter Director Kayla Wines ($665), Alisha Jackson ($635), and Jennifer Condon ($590).
Dressed in attire ranging from penguins – there was a family of four which happily coexisted with the ever-present shark in the lake – rabbits, cats, our friendly shark and a mermaid. One of a sub group of plungers, looking like an off-duty waiter in white shirt, tie, and black pants, though vaguely familiar, was Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis, who along with more flamboyantly dressed local B’Dub Chauffeur Michael Williams, were the first seen to go “all in” the lake. Magalis’s effort put him up there behind the first five money earners.
Prominent on the sidelines as an onlooker was a former Front Royal Mayor, Tim Darr, and wife Tammy, a past president of HSWC.
Aders, dressed to represent the shelter’s cat population, left a shoe behind in the lake, but allowed as how “the water didn’t feel as cold as I expected” – an opinion shared by several participants, possibly still in “lake-effect” shock, while hurrying to portable changing rooms and a heated tent to change soaked clothing. Aders appeared at the “after plunge” party at a sponsoring VinoVA restaurant on East Main Street still wearing the whiskers she’d painted on her face – it’s a good look for a humane society board president, Ellen.
Bowers did a bit of “apres swim” work at the Rachel Failmezger/Chris Kenworthy-sponsored party at VinoVA, adding about $100 to the “take” from the event with a 50/50 raffle .A band trio, entertaining in the reception tent at lakeside, was introduced as Tim (mandolin) and Terry (guitar) Bowers, and “K-man” (guitar) – the first two are parents of HSWC Executive Director Meghan Bowers, and the band were all visitors from Burke, Virginia.
Meghan Bowers had remarked to plunge participants: “You’ll have memories to last a lifetime and will have done your part to help the shelter provide the most compassionate loving care to the homeless, neglected and abused animals in our community.”
To help them do that, the Royal Examiner provides the official list of plungers and sponsors:
Kayla Wines, Ellen Aders, Michelle Kosiorek, Kelly and Chris Kenworthy, Roxanne Bauserman, Brian Morton, Janet Tinkham, Symantha Zeimet, Sharon Ritenour, Kate Ryan, Michael Williams, Sam Cartee, Marie Buitler, Rachel Coleman, Molly Llewellyn, Richard Gillespie, Judy Berry, Nichole Turpin and Katrina Meade.
Also, Julie Covert, Katya Smith, Alisha Jackson, Dylan Berry, Chris German, Ashley Nowell, Amy Thurman, Bobby Lamb, Mala Bansal, Shamla Safi, Sadie Rothrock, Sue Wagoner, Hugo Ramirez, Tiffany Tyson, Heather Raines, Cyn Day, Jennifer Avery, Sarah Myers, Sarah Bales, Hala Nelson, Thomas Hardy, Paige Ulevich, Kahle Magalis, and Marie Amico.
Sponsoring organizations were: Cool Techs Heating & Air; City National Bank; Airpac; MDub Chauffeur Services; State Farm; Culligan, Front Royal; Cavalier Kennels; Lester & Mowery Pharmacy; L&B Potables; and VinoVA Tapas & Wine Bar.
Thanks for the memories, and your efforts on behalf of the stray and abandoned animals of Warren County.
Enjoys the photos:
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of February 27th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Thursday, February 27:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $9
- Child (under 12): $6
- Military: $7
- Student (college): $7
- Senior: $7
- Matinees, All Seating: $6
Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:
- “Onward” – PREMIERES THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH
- “A Quiet Place Part II”
- “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”
- “No Time to Die”
Veterans Service Announcement
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America on Friday, February 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to noon.
As the VA does not have an office here any longer, Able Forces is making space available each month so that local veterans and their families have local access to VA representatives regarding claims, forms, or any other matter related to Veteran issues.
If you are interested in meeting with Andre or Danielle, please call our office at 540-631-9600 to make an appointment, or just come by 115 Chester Street, Suite B.
Conversation of Hope is Tuesday, February 25th
The WHAT MATTERS community meeting space, “Open House: Meet in the Middle” (213 E. Main Street next to the Daily Grind) serves as a meeting place for community members seeking positivity in this time of controversy for our town and county. At 7 pm on the 4th Tuesday of each month, community leaders and citizens gather to engage in one hour of positive reflections and hope.
This month’s conversation is on Tuesday, 2/25 from 7-8 pm. Check our Facebook page.
During the first “Conversation of Hope” in June, Chief Kahle Magalis shared a fitting quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Comments shared throughout our times reflecting have included positive feedback about the school system, about the giving & caring individuals in our community, encouragement to focus on the positive and move forward without delay (by sharing concern but finding solutions and moving on), the acknowledgment that we have a strong sense of community that’s full of characters and memories and that we have so much potential and good energy. It has been expressed that this is a good time to be forced to confront what we love and value and to picture the past and what’s good about the area.
“This too shall pass” is often uttered as well as the fact that our community has so much to offer as a busy, active and unique area (full of outdoor assets and beauty) where people care about each other and don’t let tragedy define us. Niki Foster of the FR/WC Chamber of Commerce encouraged everyone to share the wonderful things we see and be louder than the ugly noise. Representatives of area clergy have been in attendance and said they want to support and serve, especially in these times we are facing.
Please join us on the 4th Tuesday at 7 pm at 213 E. Main Street- OPEN HOUSE, to share and witness more encouraging conversations. You are guaranteed to enjoy the hour spent with a wide range of citizens, public officials, volunteers, and kind souls!
*Please note that these gatherings are ones of positivity, not negativity. Politics and current events will not be discussed—instead, we will remind ourselves why we love our community and provide an opportunity to briefly join together those who care together in the spirit of hope…
Samuels Public Library and Valley Disability Support Group co-sponsor Brain Injury Awareness
The community is invited to join the Valley Disability Support Group’s first annual Brain Injury Awareness and Education event for Brain Injury Awareness Month. Teaming up with Samuels Public Library, Valley Disability Support Group brings an author presentation and book signing by Brian and Sheila Lloyd, authors of “It’s OK, I had a Stroke.” The couple shares their faith journey in Brian’s recovery from a massive stroke.
“Positive stories of how survivors cope, live their daily lives and persevere with an Acquired Brain Injury is how we wanted to kick-off our first Brain Injury Awareness Month,” says an enthusiastic Victoria Newman, PhD, Founder of Valley Disability Support Group.
Dr. Newman is more than a host of this interactive informational session, she returns to her native Front Royal as a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor and Advocate for individuals and families cross-disabilities. Since the launch of Valley Disability Support Group in November 2019, Dr. Newman has offered monthly information sessions to support individuals and families living with disabilities.
“Counselors agree that scientific statistics prove that belief in something greater than ourselves can improve outcomes. As with the Lloyd’s,” Newman continues, “there can be something very beautiful awaiting us at the end recovery. Healing can manifest in mysterious ways.” A Psychology Today blog post by Nigel Barber, PhD, explains it this way – From a scientific perspective, faith healing is unexplained, incomprehensible, and should not work. Yet it does work.
The event will be held at Samuels Public Library in Front Royal, Virginia, on Saturday, March 7th, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Visit www.valleydisabilitysupport.com for more details.
Watch: 44th Military School Band & Festival Concert
On February 23, 2020, the 44th Annual Military School Band and Choir Festival performed their culminating concert in the Melton Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.
The students have spent hours in clinics and rehearsing to bring this concert together. The Festival Concert Band Conductor was Lieutenant (junior grade) Joel Thiesfeldt of the U.S. Navy and the Festival Choir Conductor was Master Sergeant Kerry Wilkerson, USA, Retired.
The festival brought together the top musicians from eight military schools and colleges across the country, including bandsmen and singers from Army & Navy Academy in Carlsbad, CA; Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA; Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX; Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, MO; New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM; Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA; Saint John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI; and the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.
Watch and enjoy this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Military schools from around nation gather at Randolph-Macon Academy for Drum Major Competition
On February 21-23, 2020, Randolph-Macon Academy hosted the 44th Military School Band & Chorus Festival. The annual Military School Band & Choir Festival is a three-day clinic for the top musicians from military secondary schools and colleges from across the nation.
Growing from its roots as a festival attended only by bandsmen from the military schools located in Virginia, The Military School Band & Choir Festival has grown into a national event, drawing schools and colleges from across the United States. This year’s festival roster includes more than 100 cadets and bandmasters, choir directors and chaperones from eight military academies. This year’s festival participants are from schools in California, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, Connecticut, and Virginia.
Each festival is structured to include a festival concert band conducted by a noted current, or former, military conductor, and a drum major clinic instructed by an active duty military drum major. A recent addition, now in its third consecutive year, is a festival choir conducted by a noted military choral conductor.
The drum major competition was held on February 22nd in the Melton Gymnasium on the R-MA campus. This was an opportunity for the drum majors to show off what they had learned in the clinics and compete for the Gold Medal: Outstanding Drum Major.
Watch the competition on the exclusive Royal Examiner video and an interview with Senior Chief Musician Michael Bayes from the U.S Navy Band. MUCS Bayes is also the drum major for the Navy Band and conducted the clinic.
Drum Majors and links to the participating schools:
James Bongard – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Jonathan Kattnig – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Gavin McGahey – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Dylan DeViney – Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, TX
Tristyn Gavulic – Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, VA
Liam Griffin – Saint John’s Northwestern Military Academy, Delafield, WI
Devonte Knight – Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO
Diego Lopez – Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO
Yuqi Liu – Army & Navy Academy, Carlsbad, CA
DonDiego Rains – New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM
Barry Zhu – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Austin Johnson – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Sean Loeber – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Jacob Gehly – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA