Faces of Loudoun campaign starts


Faces of Loudoun poster display

Josette Zahinda says that a brochure saved her life.

The Ashburn resident said her doctor had noticed, over the course of several visits, that she didn’t look well. The physician suspected Zahinda was a victim of domestic violence and, when she wasn’t looking, slipped a brochure into her purse. She found it later, at home.

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The Washington Post, March 12, 2017

Loudoun woman’s memoir tells how a violent crime shook her faith in God

When Ruth Everhart was a senior at a small Christian college, she and four of her roommates were held captive and brutally raped at gunpoint by two masked intruders.

Although she survived the ordeal, she was filled with shame and worried that she had been “ruined” — in the eyes of God, her family and the man she might one day marry. Her devastating experience shook her faith in God, and eventually led her to break with the conservative Protestant denomination in which she had been raised.

Last year, Everhart, 59, of Sterling, published her memoir, “Ruined,” in which she recounts the crime in detail and traces the twists and turns her life took in the months and years that followed. She tells how that journey took her through dark places — a breakup with her boyfriend, an affair with a married man, and conflicts with friends and family.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2017

200 years of criminal records indexed

Although Rachel Steer, John Lambag and Arthur White lived in three different centuries, they have at least one thing in common: At some point in their lives, each ran afoul of the law in Loudoun County.

Records of their offenses have been kept and catalogued by the historic records division of the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which recently completed an index documenting more than 10,000 criminal cases from 1757 to 1955 — a project that took about eight years. Office staff members showcased some of the most interesting criminal records Oct. 7 at an open house in the historic courthouse in Leesburg.

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Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2016

Death and life

It feels like death is being shoved in my face today.

I’ve been reading a book called Listening to Your Life, a compilation of daily meditations by Frederick Buechner. The reading for today was about Jesus’s death on the cross, and how that was a good thing for humanity.  This is a concept that, try as I might, I have never been able to fully understand or appreciate.

This awakened memories of the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech that occurred exactly eight years ago, a murderous spree that hit very close to home. I would like to think that something good came from that awful tragedy, but for the life of me I am coming up empty.

I opened the Washington Post and read about the suicide of a sophomore at William and Mary, my son’s alma mater. The young man, Paul Soutter, was to have appeared in a play about the stresses of college life. He was the fourth W & M student to take his own life this year.

On Instagram, I saw freshly posted images of my friend Lacey, who took her life almost two years ago. Her friends still regularly send messages through social media saying how much they loved and miss her. She had seemingly been unaware of how many people cared about her.

I circle back to the reading from Buechner, and try again to understand how anything good can come from the death of young people. If anything, for me, it is this awareness: Life is precious. Protect it, cherish it.