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ThanksUSA Says Thanks With Gala Event

Military families often defer their lifestyles and dreams because of multiple, long-term military deployments of their loved ones and the stresses they cause.

ThanksUSA, a national nonpartisan, non-profit organization that provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships to help military spouses and children achieve their educational goals, will host its second annual Treasure Our Troops gala to honor military families today.

“ThanksUSA is a young program and has the potential to really improve the lives of so many service members and their families,” said 2006 scholarship recipient Oriana Futrell, whose husband, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dan Futrell, returned home in September after 15 months in Iraq. “With this gala, I hope to see the program grow and reach as many lives as possible. I am so appreciative of the help ThanksUSA has given me and my husband, and I know this program can do the same for other families.”

Because of the increased financial strain she faced during her husband’s deployment, Futrell thought she would have to stop pursuing her college degree. Her scholarship helped defray her tuition costs, and she ultimately graduated with a degree in political science.

With more than 1,200 spouses and children of U.S. military personnel who have received educational scholarships thus far, scholarship recipients from 2006 and 2007 will be on hand at the event to discuss how these grants have improved their lives during difficult times.

Today’s event will raise private funding for the scholarship program in the coming year. Those interested in learning more about ThanksUSA can visit

Atlas Society Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Book

The Atlas Society, a D.C. group dedicated to promoting Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of Rand’s most famous novels, “Atlas Shrugged,” on Saturday.

John Stossel of ABC’s “20/20” and libertarian scholar Charles Murray are the keynote speakers. There also will be a Hollywood presence with Michael Burns, vice chairman of Lionsgate studio, the company currently producing the movie version of “Atlas Shrugged.” The film is slated to be released next year and stars Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart. Howard and Karen Baldwin, who produced the Oscar-winning film “Ray,” also will be in attendance.

The all-day event will feature panels discussing the book and how it relates to business, ethics, achievement and even the American Revolution. A panel dedicated to commemorating the life of the author also is planned. Scholars from the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Institute for Energy Research, among others, will speak along with a full cast from the Atlas Society.

Registration is still available for the celebration, which will be held at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel at 999 Ninth St. NW, with a reception at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

More information can be found at or by calling The Atlas Society at 202-AYN-RAND.

— Brandace Simmons and Jillian Bandes

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