Sam Gray, a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue firefighter, won a silver medal in 2,000-meter indoor rowing and a bronze in mountain running at the 2013 World Police & Fire Games in Belfast, Ireland, earlier this month.
The World Police & Fire Games is one of the largest multi-sport, multi-venue athletic events in the world, drawing some 12,000 competitors from police, fire and public safety agencies in more than 70 countries.
About 60 men and women from the Washington, D.C., area were part of a U.S. contingent.
“This was the very first time I had even seen a rowing event besides on YouTube, and it was pretty exciting,” said Gray, who lives in Fairfax County. He was introduced to indoor rowing eight months ago.
Gray trained so hard for the aerobic challenge of indoor rowing that he decided to try the 8K mountain race in the peaks of the Mourne Mountains, outside Newcastle in Northern Ireland. He surprised himself by winning the bronze.
“The competition was pretty steep,” Gray said. “I took off and thought I was going to go for a jog through the nice mountains, and it ended up being pretty rough.”
Nonprofit Fairfax 2015 plans to host the games in the national capital region in two years. Gray said he is looking forward to bringing the games to Fairfax and the region.
“Firemen and police are the same across the board, no matter where you go in the world, and that’s been pretty amazing,” he said.
Fairfax County established Fairfax 2015 to organize, manage and operate all activities related to hosting the 2015 World Police & Fire Games. The 2015 Games are expected to take place in more than 40 venues throughout the region from June 26 to July 5, 2015. Beneficiaries include the U.S. National Law Enforcement Memorial, the U.S. National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and the local Valor Awards Scholarship Fund.
• Army Cadets Shaeban Hicks, Ian Martin, Ian Mcnerney, Kaitlin Phelan and Kyle Smith have graduated from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) Leader’s Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.
Hicks, son of Rhonda Seales of Alexandria and Bernard Hicks of Jonesboro, Ga., is a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. He graduated in 2008 from Thomas Edison High School.
Martin, son of William Martin and Bernice Williams of Reston, is a student at Virginia Tech. He graduated in 2011 from Herndon High School.
Mcnerney, son of Martin and Nancy Mcnerney of McLean, is a student at Wake Forest University, in Winston Salem, N.C. He graduated in 2011 from The Potomac School.
Phelan, daughter of Kelly Ayotte-Phelan and Robert Phelan Jr. of Springfield, is a student at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. She graduated in 2011 from West Springfield High School.
Smith, son of Bob and Rosemarie Smith of Herndon, is a student at Virginia Tech. He is a 2011 graduate of Westfield High School.
• Army National Guard Spec. Angela Skolnitsky and Army National Guard Pvt. Latori Toney have graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
Skolnitsky, daughter of Dorothy Skolnitsky of Fairfax, is a 2008 graduate of Fairfax High School. She earned a bachelor’s in 2012 from the University of Virginia.
Toney, daughter of Latrice Toney of Alexandria, is a 2010 graduate of Mount Vernon High School.
• Air Force Airmen Vincent Jeter II, Cyrus Thompson and Harold Williford graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Jeter, son of Vincent Jeter Sr. of Chesnee, S.C., and Zora White of Alexandria, is a 2009 graduate of Chapman High School in Inman, S.C.
Thompson is the son of James Thompson and stepson of Chandria Thompson, both of Springfield.
Williford, son of William Williford of Fairfax, is a 2009 graduate of South Columbus High School in Tabor City, N.C.
• Army Lt. Col. Alayne Conway and Army Reserve Col. Raymond Elderd have graduated from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pa., earning master’s degrees in strategic studies. The college is the Army’s senior educational institution.
Conway, a public affairs officer assigned to Army Public Affairs at the Pentagon, has served in the military for 21 years. She is the daughter of Mary Hoover of Lorton and Allen Hoover of Palm Harbor, Fla.
Elderd, a brigade commander assigned to the 1st Brigade Of Great Lakes Division at Arlington Heights, Ill., has served in the military for 25 years. He graduated in 1984 from Oakton High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1988 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He earned a master’s in 2004 from Trident University International in Cypress, Calif. A resident of Prior Lake, Minn., Elderd is an information technology manager for C.H. Robinson when not on active duty.
Life Scout Matthew Hargrove conducted a workday June 1 to complete his Eagle Scout service project at the main office of United Community Ministries in Alexandria. Matthew is a junior at Accotink Academy and West Potomac High School, and a member of Boy Scout Troop 654 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria.
His project involved replacing benches at the front entrance of UCM’s building, where hundreds of residents visit each weekday for basic needs assessments and counseling. UCM’s food pantry also is at the site. Hargrove said he raised more than $500 from family and friends to cover expenses. A local nursery donated boxwood bushes.
Braddock District Supervisor John Cook presented a Certificate of Achievement to Eagle Scout Will Palfey at his Court of Honor on June 8. Will is a senior at W. T. Woodson High School and a member of Troop 1000 at Lord of Life Church in Fairfax. His service project consisted of building a gravel path and a set of steps at a local church that supports many community activities.
Austin Nicholls of Oak Hill, a junior at South Lakes High School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout on June 18. Austin is a member of Troop 1530, sponsored by Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax. He will be formally awarded his Eagle Scout badge at a Court of Honor at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon in early September.
Pender’s ReGift Thrift Store in Chantilly was the beneficiary of Nicholls’ Eagle Scout project. He planned and oversaw construction of multiple 8-foot partition walls finished with pegboard and an attached display area. They improve safety by separating a sales area from temperature-control equipment and ducting, and also provide additional display space.
Avery Vogelzang, 14, of Oak Hill, a member of Troop 839 in Herndon, completed a project for the town in July to earn his rank of Eagle Scout. Avery and his team of Scouts built three park benches and installed cedar birdhouses along the Herndon section of Sugarland Run Nature Trail. Overseen by Town of Herndon Forester John Dudzinsky, the Scouts also collected recyclables along the trail.