Bits & Pieces: Keeley Imel was an inspiration to us all

Last Sunday, after a courageous struggle, we lost Keeley Imel to brain cancer. I first came to know of Keeley the fall of 2010, when Karen Brelsford wrote a story about her. Keeley, then a senior, was a member of the Centennial girls soccer team. Her illness limited her playing time, but she was an inspiration to those around her.

I came away feeling a great deal of admiration for Keeley, who handled a difficult life situation with remarkable maturity. Keeley was one of those gems that we rarely come across in our lifetime. She understood the severity of her illness, yet she never felt sorry for herself, never complained about her treatments at St. Jude's Hospital or her setbacks.

Steve Baxter, her soccer coach at Centennial High, sent her a letter which read in part, "During this season, you have always shown such a positive attitude regardless of your circumstances. Knowing the challenges you have already been through and where you are in your recovery before this latest setback, you've shown a lot of courage to go out on the field and try to compete ... Please know you have impacted my life in a way that no one has ever been able to do. ...You truly are special and I mean that with all my heart. I believe that your special attributes of courage, strength and character will get you through this."

Despite Steve's wishes and ours, Keeley did not get through this. Still, she has been an inspiration to all of us. She taught us real character comes from adversity and she displayed the best character that any of us can ever hope for in our lives.

Berger gets a promotion

Columbia native Stephen Berger, a former All-American lacrosse star at Washington College and a former professional player with the Long Island Lizards and the Charlotte Hounds, has been promoted to US Lacrosse men's game director.

He assumed his new duties this week and will be providing the lacrosse community access to and information about that organization's leadership. He joined the US Lacrosse staff in 2009 as the men's division associate and then was promoted to men's game director.

Stephen was an alternate on the 2006 U.S. national team, participated in the 2008 Champion Challenge and competed in the 2011-12 national team events, the 2011 Champion Challenge and several other major lacrosse competitions. He was also a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater.

A college boost from the Roost

Ravens Roost No. 4 of Ellicott City presented $1,500 scholarships to Tom Klotz of Wilde Lake High School and Herb Jenkins Jr. of Mt. Hebron High School at its annual bull and oyster roast held at The Lodge in Catonsville March 24. The scholarship fund entitled "Formula 4 Success" rewarded Tom and Herb for their brilliant high school careers on the field and in the classroom. Tom has a 3.89 GPA and Herb has a 4.0.

Ravens Roost No. 4 has raised more than $10,000 for Special Olympics via the Deep Creek Dunk, and has donated $3,000 annually to local Howard County and Baltimore sports charities.

The Inspiration Walk

Special Olympics Howard County will sponsor its 11th annual Inspiration Walk on Saturday, April 21, at Centennial Park. The walk is a fundraiser for SOHC, which funds 19 sports for around 600 children with intellectual disabilities.

This year's honorary chairman is Del. Guy Guzzone. As usual, there will be prizes and lots to do other than just walk. The Oriole Bird and the Redskins Hoguettes will be on hand. Registration fee is $25 with the walk starting at around 9:15 a.m.

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