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Candland honors Gainesville District heroes

Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland presented the Gainesville Hero Award to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Drive, Gray Face Acres and Carried to Full Term in a ceremony Jan. 29. The Gainesville Hero Award recognizes individuals and organizations who work to make our community a better place.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Drive:
As Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Tony Vallone and Ruth Anne Sawyer organized a drive to collect desperately needed supplies for victims of the hurricane. Actively involved in the community, they each put out a call for help to their contacts. The next morning, Gordon and Brian Ashley with Shenandoah Landscape Services donated a 53-foot truck to store and transport the donations. Local businesses and churches responded in droves. Tony said he knew there people wanted to help but he was surprised by how many people stepped up to answer the call. The weeklong collection brought in 22 tons of supplies, which were delivered to the United Way for distribution. This enormous effort to help those who needed it most would not have happened if Tony and Ruth Anne had not put their heads together and acted on their feelings. Ruth Anne says she was impressed by the wonderful outpouring of love and compassion from the community.

Gray Face Acres:
Bob and Debbie Gretz took years of experience with animal rescue operations and opened their own rescue, Gray Face Acres. Debbie believes “No dog deserves to spend its last days in a shelter.” Gray Face Acres helps to facilitate the fostering and adoption of elderly dogs from shelters around West Virginia and Virginia. The rescue was originally privately funded but as the number of dogs increased, they simply could not keep up. Most of the dogs need medical attention so Bob and Debbie created a charity to help pay for those expenses. Last month Gray Face Acres placed 27 elderly dogs into fosters homes to live out their lives with a family.

Carried to Full Term:
Frances Robin always knew she wanted to help mothers in crisis. After years of planning, successes and failures, the little yellow house in Haymarket is now Carried to Full Term. Carried to Full Term helps mothers-to-be in crisis through an intensive two-year program including job training, GED classes, mothering skills and emotional and spiritual support. Since its opening, 14 residents have been able to benefit from the program. This week Carried to Full Term celebrates a milestone, the first mother to complete a full year of the rigorous program. Frances has a goal to give the mothers and their babies a head start. As soon as the mothers arrive at Carried to Full Term, they are put on a path to a new future. She is making a difference in the lives of these mothers and their babies.

Supervisor Candland recognizes the tremendous impact these heroes have had in the lives of others and commends them for their service to those who stand in need.

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