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Bill and Courtney Toomey with their two children at the 2011 Festival of Trees.
Bill and Courtney Toomey with their two children at the 2011 Festival of Trees. (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Submitted photo , Carroll County Times)

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Lt. Peter G. Zouck Post 521

, at 214 Tollgate Road in Owings Mills, hosted its annual fun get-together Christmas party for its members and auxiliary and this year, its Ravens Roost group that supports our Baltimore Ravens Football team. All the vets support our Baltimore Ravens, however, this is a specific club within this VFW Post 521 Post.

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Veterans, their spouses and their adult children enjoy this holiday camaraderie, delicious food and the mega-large TV screen, to watch our Baltimore Ravens, that had everyone on edge and in suspense, would or wouldn't the Ravens win? And, on this particular Sunday they did win, by a few points! It was a close-score thriller to watch!

This past season, the Ravens were an undefeated team at home 8 and 0, the very first time in the Ravens franchise history! As this column goes to press, we know the close game they did lose, but our Ravens played fantastically well this past season. To us Baltimoreans, we love our Ravens, they did a great job!

Larry McGinnis, is Post 521 commander; Gene Smith, senior vice commander; Ray Burke Jr. vice commander; Ed Matheson, a former commander, many times, and always a very helpful veteran with this post's activities, is currently quartermaster.

Dave Silcox is chaplain; Chester Silverman, surgeon; Earl Servary, judge advocate; Tony Navickas, adjutant. Bill DePuey is three-year trustee; Ralph Murray, two-year trustee; Ron Servary, one-year trustee.

Post 521's equally active Ladies Auxiliary includes Carole Sharp, president; Nancy Matheson, a former top-notch president, several times, is senior vice president; Octavia (Tavia) Eyres, is junior vice president; Donna Markus, secretary; Pat McConville, has been their dedicated treasurer for mega years.

Cindy Kohler, is chaplain; Anna Cossentino, patriotic instructor; Joyce Burchill, guard; Pat DePuey, conductress.

Nancy Matheson, continuously involved, is a three-year trustee; Cindy Kohler, two-year trustee; Pat DePuey, one-year trustee.

Auxiliary member, Eileen Rogers, encouraged the sale of raffles to all the veterans and their guests. Proceeds benefit a 30-plus year fun(d) raising project, by the Auxiliary, for an annual $1,000 scholarship to benefit a needy student at Owings Mills Senior High School, selected by the school's counselors.

Another group actively involved with Post 521 is the Men's Auxiliary.

Mark Phillips is president; Jay Bertsch, is senior vice president; Tom Hess, is treasurer; Gordon Redding, Guard; Mike Whitehead, chaplain.

Bill Stem is three-year trustee; Bryce Jackson, two-year trustee; Mark Morgan, one-year trustee.

V.F.W. Post 521 actively fun(d) raises dollars to benefit veterans in need and many additional worthy programs and projects benefiting others.

The very helpful kitchen team did a great job coordinating the selection of yummy "eats" at this Christmas party, under the leadership of Ray Barker included Larry McGinnis, Pat Smith and Ed Matheson. THANX!

Amongst the 100 holiday Christmas party revelers were, Nancy and Ed Matheson, Pat and Bill DePuey, Gary McHenry, Florence Rogow and Chester Silverman, Barb and Ken Floyd, Doreen and Ray Barker, Gail and Dave McCulloch, Pat and Sid Cerbrick, Anna Constatine and Frank Day, Marvin Zolner with his handsome sons, Roger and Randy plus many more revelers too numerable to list! This fun holiday party and fund-raiser was enjoyed by all the vets and their guests!

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Best wishes to our very valued veterans for good health, especially good health, and happiness in 2012 and their future years. They fought and many of their veteran friends died, so that we and others can have/enjoy peace! It has cost the vets many, many precious lives!

Festival of Trees 2011

Kennedy Krieger Institute sponsored its 22nd annual, and one of it's biggest, fun(d) raisers at Maryland State Fairgrounds, in Timonium. A fab holiday wonderland it was, with more than 600 beautifully decorated trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses, plus more than 100 vender gift boutiques offering a fab array of literally everything imaginable to encourage the customers to shop at their boutique.

For Christmas and yes, even Hanukkah shopping, this was a great opportunity to purchase something unique, unusual and some items perfect for holiday gift-giving and other items. Plus there was a large assortment of silent auction items obtained by a dedicated auction committee! And enjoyable live entertainment!

There were seven-foot-tree designers and two-foot-tree designers, each creating their own holiday fantasies!

For kids there was a Santa Land with games and activities, "reindeer" pony rides on Donner and Blitzen. Total family fun with carnival games and carousal rides. Zillions of kids, all ages, enjoyed Santa Land!

This event was a tremendous job! Dedicated "Festival of Tree" co-chairs were Dr. Courtney and William J. Toomey II. The equally dedicated festival committee included, Rosellen Bloomberg, Eileen Chiat, Janet Livingston, Amy Sussman. Plus Linsay Caldwell, Theresa Macheski, Amber Weiner, Cathy Schreiner, Ted Van Sant and Dara Schnee.

Silent auction committee that also did a great job included Debbie Abrams, Rachel Bradley, Melissa Ingerman, Nicole Levitt, Mandie Lutz, Jill Mull, Patti Neumann, Vicki Rosellini, Laura Rosenfield, Ruthie Silber, Lisa Stoler, Debbie Stover and Andrea Suchin.

Mega thanks Fandango Productions for their creative involvement!

This was a record-breaking event, with 50,000 attendees and more than $1 million dollars fun(d) raised from this year's "Festival of Trees!"

Gargantuan thanks to all the sponsors, this includes title (BB&T), platinum (Staples Advantage), gold, silver, bronze, partner, patron, tree, wreath, in-kind sponsors, media partners, the many, many helpful volunteers and many, many staffers from Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Proceeds from Festival of Trees benefit patient care, research, special education and community programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Kennedy Krieger Institute is internationally recognized for improving the lives of children with developmental disorders. The Institute serves more than 16,000 children every year through inpatient and day-treatment programs, outpatient clinics, home and community services and school based programs.

The Institute provides a wide range of services for children with developmental disabilities - mild to severe - and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop and pioneering new inventions and earlier diagnosis.

Special thanks, Jen Burke, communications, Kennedy Krieger, for keeping this columnist updated.

Lifecycle simcha celebrations

A very happy and a few belated birthday greetings to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and community celebrating 30-something more or less. Also a sprinkling of kids, tween/teens, young adults and seniors (recycled teenagers):

Joanne Eglovitch, Davina Mindel, Anita Downing, Eric Scheman, Alvin Akman, Dr. Ron Surdin, Dr. Jerry Cohen, Ilene Gold, Sid Kovens, Dr. Joel Brenner, Dr. Lois Schuster, Sharon Berman, Richard Friedler, Florence Simon, Sandy Raskin, Dr. David Cohen, Arnold Gresser, Jon Levinson, Shirley Rodbell, Eileen Laskin, Elliott Langbaum, Jonathan Weiner, Ed Land, Bob Altenburger, Paul Jaworski.

And Sheila Goldberg, Jill Goden, Harvey Gold, Eli Eisenberg, Howard Greenberg, Marsha Glassband, Ashley Jenoff, Michael Bereston, Barry Brook, Marc Cohen, Rebecca Goldstein, Gladys Marcus, Constatine Spivak, Fran Richman, Erin Grosman, Elaine Lenet, Fred Gager, Joe Ostraw, Debbie Goldschmitt, Vikki Seidenman, Joyce Geller, Sue Golden, Joan Posner, Jon Mayers, Rachel Bogdan, Darlene Siegel.

A few adorable birthday kids Stella Caplan, Isabella Udoff, Annalyse Shpritz, Jamie Askew, Ella Millen, Rebecca Fruman and Tyler Weinstein.

Happy, happy birthday to each and everyone and those celebrating birthdays not listed. Hope you all enjoyed oodles of ice cream, cake and goodies. Especially the goodies!

Engagement congrats

Miriam Fink to Jared Surdin

Jessica Brovitz to Josh Kline

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Marriages

Best wishes for wedded bliss:

Aliza (King) and Brad Friedlander

Amy (Featherman) and Jared Bosk

Newborns

Welcome to this trio of adorable precious bundles of joy:

A daughter, Keren Yael, to Rabbi Faith and David Cantor.

A son, James Jonathan Presley, to Margaret Presley and Dana Stein.

A daughter, Julia Louise, to Liz and Michael Ventura.

Mazel Tov to all! Enjoy with oodles of hugs and kisses and a few lovable squeezes on their eensie, weensie tiny diapered tushes!

Anniversary congrats

A gorgeous (diamond) 62nd anniversary to Pearl and Richard Reinstein.

WOW! 62 years! Fantabulous! We all wish Pearl and Richard many, many more wonderful anniversaries with good health and happiness! Yes!

A pretty (emerald) 55th anniversary to Iris and Warren Keyser. Celebrating their (golden) big 5-0, half-century anniversary are Marcia and Barry Norian.

A lovely (sapphire) 45th anniversary to Dr. and Mrs. David Seff. A lovely (ruby) 40th anniversary Jan and Pete Brinch, Mr. and Mrs. Art Gerson.

A pretty (coral) 35th anniversary Eilene and Alan Cohen. An attractive (pearl) 30th anniversary to Karen Rosen and Ross Pologe, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Cocke.

An enjoyable 28th anniversary to Jerri and Dr. Jeffrey Rosen. Celebrating their (silver) 25th, quarter-century anniversary are Angela and Neil Levy. A wonderful 21st anniversary to Stacy and Herb Fried. An enjoyable 20th anniversary to Lori and Gordon Lawless.

A lovely (chai) 18th anniversary to Sabrina and Howard Friedman. A very happy 11th anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Ken Burkom.

Happy anniversary to all of the above and those celebrating anniversaries not listed! May you all enjoy many, many more wonderful anniversary simchas! L'Chaim!

Shannon and Taylor Stern, tween/teen, young adult and under-30 social columnists:

Bat Mitzvah

Mazel Tov to Ilyssa Rubin.

Bar Mitzvah

Mazel Tov to Gil Feldman and Noah Hammerman.

Happy young-adult birthday to my sister, Taylor Stern! Also Erin Levitas, Shira Goldstein, Melissa Sacks, Brittany Feinberg, Lindsey Moskowitz, Jessica Cohen, Alexa Lansing, Tara and Max Wendell, Ryan Kromsky, Shira Mendelsohn.

Happy 20-something and under-30 birthdays to Rachael Tellerman, Genn Popik, Tracey Hankoff, Nicole and Mikel Wilner.

Happy birthday to all the double-digit, Bat and Bar Mitzvah celebrants, young adult and 20-something and under-30 birthday celebrants not listed! Happy milestone birthdays all!

Holiday

Tuesday, Feb. 14, is Valentines Day! Happy "Sweethearts Day" to everyone!

Memo

Shabbat candle-lighting time, Friday evening, Feb. 10, is 5:19 p.m.

Have and enjoy a terrific week! Yes, everyone!

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