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Wrecking Prince William Hospital

By Greg L | 24 February 2009 | Prince William County | 40 Comments

The quest to sell Prince William Hospital continues unabated, and until recently, rather secretly.  One concerned employee recently sent an anonymous email to all hospital staff recently, spurring hospital administrators to hold a series of forums with employees who are concerned about their jobs and the quality of the hospital.  In these forums the email was addressed by the CEO, who validated the contents of the email by running it down point by point and responding to the concerns it raised.   He vaguely addressed potential job losses, downplayed the Severance Packages and Stay Bonuses that executives are negotiating for themselves, and alluded that all employees would be looked after.  Despite these assurances, many of them don’t seem impressed.

Concerns about financial transparency and the possibility that management is trying to promote a picture of the hospital’s finances in an unduly negative light in order to support efforts to dump the institution are deeply disquieting.  So much so that two of the seven clinical directors resigned this past week.  Whether a sale goes forward or not, residents in the area should be concerned that the recent actions of management might potential impact the quality of care at Prince William Hospital and the future of this institution.
Here’s the email that went out to employees:

Your job is in serious jeopardy.

The time has come to stand up, ask questions, and speak your mind before it’s too late. PWHS “leadership” is using the current financial crisis as an excuse to sell your community hospital, putting your livelihood and your family’s wellbeing at risk.  There are 63 other community hospitals in Virginia, also currently ‘in the red’, but they are not desperately searching for a “partner” (a BUYER).  ”Merger” and “partnership” are just euphemisms in the case of PWHS.  PWHS will be SOLD and TAKEN OVER.  Following the failure of the INOVA merger, it is clear that there was no alternative strategy in place for the future of PWHS, no ‘Plan B’, financial or otherwise.  Selling-off the organization and handing it as well as the challenges it faces over to outsiders is the extent of the vision and capabilities of current “leadership”.

This “leadership” has failed their employees and the community they claim to serve.

This “leadership” will profit from this sale and are receiving ample time to get their professional affairs in order. They are arranging for severance packages and bonuses BEFORE the sale while the rest of PWHS is left in the dark.

This “leadership” WANTS to facilitate a sale, not only for the lucrative severances and bonuses they’ll receive, but to raise their own professional profile and accomplishments.

PWHS employees need to stand up and ask why an independent PWHS is not being considered as a viable possibility.

Why is there no financial accountability or fiscal transparency as seen in other non-profit organizations, which publish and share their audited financial statements?

Should the simple statement of “we need to grow with a parking garage and private patient rooms” and lip-service about the economic crisis be enough justification to sell your livelihood?

TELL PWHS “leadership” that they need to provide employees and the community with financial facts, not just rhetoric and sales-pitches.

Ask your supervisors and directors what a sale or “merger” would likely mean to your department and your job, especially those in non-clinical positions, such as Information Systems, Patient Access and Scheduling.

Some senior clinical staff may be hired immediately and be permitted to remain in-place while others will be ‘initially replaced’ (FIRED) and have their jobs filled by agency, contractors, ‘travelers’ and those already employed by the buying entity who are temporarily assigned to facilitate the transformation.

If you’re not an executive with the ‘golden parachute’ of a severance package guaranteed to you, the only ‘bonus’ and benefit you will be eligible for after losing your job post-merger or sale is the legally guaranteed right of continuing health and dental coverage – the right to continue paying for 100% of the cost of your insurance out of your own pocket, an amount that you should make yourself aware of for your own information.

The people responsible for this situation need to be held accountable.

“Save PWHS” is an alliance made up of employees and system associates, some with firsthand experience with mergers and sales at other healthcare organizations, and more than 50 years of PWHS service between us.
Our intention is to help keep PWHS an independent, non-profit community organization. Please write us from your home email address to pledge your support or find honest answers to your questions.

You can make a difference.    Ask questions.   Speak your mind.  Protect yourself, your job, the family you support and your community hospital.

“Golden parachutes” for senior management while the institution is in some financial difficulty, declining employee morale and the departure of a significant number of senior medical personnel, and rumors of some tremendous weaknesses in the security of their information technology resources are all troubling issues that should be addressed quickly.  From an investor point of view (I’m not an investor in the hospital, by the way) you’d think you’d want to see them improve the value of the institution before looking for a buyer.  Instead, it seems some are trying to weaken it so they can justify the need to sell the institution.

Save PWHS, indeed.

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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  1. Johnson said on 25 Feb 2009 at 10:58 am:
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    Who would want to take over a facility that operates in the red whenever an illegal alien strolls into the emergency room? When are we going to realize that we can’t run a business like that? Kalifornia still doesn’t get it. Good. Let them founder.

    Hospitals are a business, for profit or nonprofit. Health care is too expensive to give away. There are enough programs to help those legal residents who can’t get insurance. Hospitals should be allowed to fingerprint and photograph everyone who requests medical care and is uninsured. Want amnesty? Want to get a green card? Become a citizen? Pay your bills, like citizens are required to do.

  2. fed up said on 25 Feb 2009 at 1:02 pm:
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    I agree 100%, Johnson!

  3. D.B. Cooper said on 25 Feb 2009 at 3:20 pm:
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    This is the type of situation that occurs when community leaders, developers, banks and other lending institutions, real estate salesman, and various and sundry “activists” get together and decide to bring in an undesirable population that can’t pay its bills, that degrades the public schools, that overburdens the community infrastructure, and that criminally preys upon the law abiding population. The good folks leave, selling their property, thus creating opportunities for all those involved in the real estate business. It’s called “churning.” Blame your elected leaders for allowing it to happen.

  4. JohnIrish said on 25 Feb 2009 at 5:00 pm:
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    This place has the nerve to offer its top level mismanagers “stay bonuses” while they sell their staff’s jobs to the highest bidder? How’s that for fiscal responsibility… and all so some conglomerate health care giant from god only knows where can come in and run our “community hospital.” They won’t care if they are giving away free health care because it won’t be in their backyard - at least not until they realize how much money they are bleeding and shut the place down all together. At this rate, the FTC should have allowed Inova to take over - Manassas won’t have any other options soon anyway.

  5. Groveton said on 25 Feb 2009 at 5:56 pm:
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    Sorry to seem unenlightened but who owns Prince William Hospital? It isn’t the management team, right? Shouldn’t all this legitimate frustration be directed at the owners?

  6. Casey said on 25 Feb 2009 at 6:26 pm:
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    Everyone tell your lefty dem friends that this is something that they can get behind too, since it’s also all about greed and people selling out the community and their employees, just like we’re seeing with Circuit City and other companies…. giving the top execs bonuses and benefits while the workers get the short end.

    My wife works there and I can tell you for a fact that the personnel department is on it when it comes to keeping illegals out and keeping legal immigrant workers in line. She gets at least one overtime shift a month because someone else is sent home to get their INS papers in order before they expire. Some corporation that comes in won’t care as much about Manassas jobs or Manassas problems.

    The place needs strong local control and not a bunch of people just out to sell the place. And all this recent drama and exposure is happening because one nurse who heard about her boss’s Severance Agreement and saw some documents she wasn’t supposed to.

  7. Ron said on 25 Feb 2009 at 7:38 pm:
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    A little off topic, but Obama’s dog pick has been stalled by immigration and other questions:


  8. TedKennedysSwimInstructor said on 25 Feb 2009 at 8:25 pm:
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    Obama’s dog pick has been stalled because he’s concerned the dog will not be diverse enough.

    Obama wants to ascertain the dog has all the colors of all peoples deprived by white Republicans.

    Obama wants to ascertain the methane in the dog farts fall well below the standards the EPA is about to apply to fainting goats and goldfish.

    Obama wants to ascertain that he has a dog door in place that unlike him, the dog will not try to open to no avail because it really is a Oval Office window.

    Obama wants to ascertain that Chris Matthews and Keith Obermann of MSNBC get their rabie shots before they interview the first dog to ascertain whether the dog gets excited when he/she grabs a wiff of leftover Bush dog piss on the east lawn.

  9. jfk said on 25 Feb 2009 at 8:50 pm:
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    Chris Matthews would make a good dog for the Obama family. He already grovels and shakes his tail everytime he sees the president. Hell, Chris would probably go fetch a ball if Mr. Obama threw it.

  10. friend of PWH said on 25 Feb 2009 at 9:36 pm:
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    Please stay on topic and stop your political rantings. Save PWH from the greedy “leadership” who’s only goal since the 90’s was to sell it to the highest bidder.

  11. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2009 at 10:32 am:
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    I worked at a small hospital with a restricted practice focus that closed its general emergency room. It was not a community hospital, it was not a non-profit, and it was a business decision. Don’t want to be on the front lines of treating the uninsured? No ER. No place for the ambulance to take them. A little harsh.

    Well run community hospitals are valuable. They take the ambulance. They tend to be more about providing the service and less about the business. They still have to be run responsibly, of course. We lost one in my old neighborhood community hospitals and the ones who suffered most were senior citizens.

  12. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2009 at 10:46 am:
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    Ron said on 25 Feb 2009 at 7:38 pm: Flag comment

    A little off topic, but Obama’s dog pick has been stalled by immigration and other questions:


    Yea, and his labor secretary pick (who has a tax cheating husband and she is probably a card carrying member of La Raza) was confirmed. Amnesty is soon coming.

  13. Vigilant1 said on 26 Feb 2009 at 11:01 am:
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    Here is an interesting article re the hospital and where it plans to go:


  14. Anchor Baby said on 27 Feb 2009 at 5:02 pm:
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    Anyone have additional information as to why the sale of the hospital would be a bad idea?

  15. Bible Quotation #1 said on 27 Feb 2009 at 6:31 pm:
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    Anchor Baby:

    Additional information?

    Local jobs will be lost.

    Working class people will be out in the cold while the top execs get paid year vacations with benefits.

    Local control will be handed over to outsiders, who may not give a damn about Manassas. This could lead to many serious problems.

    Do you really need to know more than that?

  16. PWHS Vet said on 28 Feb 2009 at 2:34 am:
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    Please also check out the article here:


    It looks like the local paper is following BVBL’s lead and following this important story.
    Check out the comments over there, as well.

    Do what you can to help protect local jobs and your community hospital!

  17. Anonymous said on 28 Feb 2009 at 11:32 am:
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    The boat was missed when the FTC turned down a merger with Fairfax Inova (they said it would be a monopoly.) Now we will end up in a merger with some unknow entity who will probably be hq’d on the west coast.

  18. Kelly RN said on 1 Mar 2009 at 3:59 pm:
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    What kills me is that the place is crying the blues that they have no money but can still throw big expensive “fund raisers” and ask the well-to-do in the community to contribute money BUT can guarantee the tops execs a year’s paid vacation (”severance”) if the place gets sold.

  19. Kate RN said on 2 Mar 2009 at 9:44 pm:
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    Who is “Save PWHS” anyway? I have written the gmail account that was in the paper but haven’t heard anything back from them. PWHS employees? Community members? Thanks !

  20. JellyBeene said on 5 Mar 2009 at 7:15 am:
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    As a 30 year RN for the west coast, I’ve been through these merger/buyout situations a few times. There’s a right way to do it - with lots of open discussion with the staff, a clear plan, and resources available to those who will be displaced. There is also a wrong way to do - and from what I hear from my colleagues at PWH, they are doing it the wrong way - making excuses for why they need to sell, insisting that people won’t lose their jobs and creating a sense of fear and mistrust.

    The truth is that every hospital wants to provide better care. That is the business and there is no better business strategy for a hospital. The people at the top have to realize that in making such a drastic change to reach that strategy they are completely changing the identity of the hospital. A small community hospital doesn’t lose that identity overnight just because a few papers are signed. What will change overnight is the nurses commitment to that hospital if they think they are not being treated with respect.

    People will lose their jobs. When a company is bought, the new company has a different set of expectations. A different set of standards. Not everyone will met them. Your 10, 15, 20 years of working there will not mean much to a new manager who is told to keep only the best and the brightest and cut the rest. Those that don’t lose their jobs will see a pay cut. You are not going to be big fish in a little pond anymore. You are going to be very little fish in an ocean. It’s called restructuring and it will happen. I hope that it is done the right way.

  21. no one said on 9 Mar 2009 at 5:07 pm:
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    The information that was said was correct. The leadership is only worried about one thing. Money in their pockets. They say they don’t have any money but they spend money on things they don’t need.

  22. Bible Quotation #1 said on 9 Mar 2009 at 6:56 pm:
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    This is from a comment on the Journal Messenger’s page - interesting stuff.

    Did you know that as a non-profit organization PWHS’s tax forms are public records? Here’s their 2006 one:

    Check out page 17 to see how much their CEO made in 2006 - he’s probably making even more now and will get an entire year in severance with benefits when he finally manages to sell the place. How very Circuit City! Too bad the actual working people there will not be so lucky. Prepare for my unemployment and homelessness, Manassas! Thanks, PWHS management!

    It is your right to call their CFO and ask for copies of their more recent 990 forms so you can see exactly what these executives are earning and exactly how golden their parachutes will be when they sell out the hospital at the expense of local jobs.

    cut and pasted from a comment on this article: http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/prince_william_hospital_babies_smoke_detectors/31469/

  23. NrsSupFO said on 12 Mar 2009 at 8:15 pm:
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    The word on the street is a union has arrived at the hospital trying to sign up the clinical staff. The morale and employee relations with management are so bad it is ripe for a union to look like the best option. When in the world is someone going to step up and help lead that place?

  24. Clueless Leadership said on 13 Mar 2009 at 8:01 pm:
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    The PWHS positive publicity push continues, as does the lack of the responding the to the truth — that non-clinical and corporate employees are going to be jobless after the sale.


    Funny how they can afford to expand to Woodbridge but can’t afford to keep local governance.

    Start sending any job leads you might come across to any friends you have working at the hospital. They should start unionizing, protesting, doing anything to get the word out to the county. Like a typical tax and spend, run-a-business-into-the-ground and get rewarded for it liberal moron, their CEO is going to sell out the community and its values and get a payday out of it.

  25. Jay said on 15 Mar 2009 at 5:27 pm:
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    I wouldn’t go to this hospital to have a splinter pulled out of my hand.

  26. ChristieC said on 15 Mar 2009 at 7:06 pm:
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    See the Washington Post Article today (March 15) regarding the sale of the hospital. Unreal.

  27. My Wife Works for PWHS Accounting so she will soon be jobless said on 15 Mar 2009 at 8:00 pm:
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    Of course the article doesn’t mention all of the corporate and “headquarters” jobs will be lost when PWHS is no longer its own corporation and the HQ is somewhere else.

    Fortunately someone mentioned this in the ‘comments’ section. I urge you all to read the article and spread the word how Manassas jobs are being thrown under the bus so the executives who ran the place make out like bandits.

  28. NO SEVERANCE PACKAGE HERE said on 15 Mar 2009 at 8:09 pm:
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    and here’s the Post article:


    and thanks to BVBL for giving this important local story the attention it deserves first!

  29. Jen said on 19 Mar 2009 at 6:37 pm:
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    I’m sure those executives will give up their bonuses and take a $1 salary to save your jobs. On second thought, no they won’t. They’ll laugh all the way to the bank instead. But before they do they’ll tell you that no one is losing their jobs just because they don’t want all the employees to leave at once. They’ll use you until they are booted out themselves. Better brush off that resume.

  30. ABetterWay said on 19 Mar 2009 at 9:31 pm:
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    The number of people who seem to hate PWH and think the leadership is incompetent far outweighs those that think the place is good. I have heard this for years from old employees and current employees. Was it ever a good place? Was there ever good leadership there?

  31. ANGRY PATIENT said on 20 Mar 2009 at 5:27 pm:
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  32. RN2 said on 21 Mar 2009 at 6:12 am:
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    Sorry Angry Patient but that is not surprising at all. Paranoia is thick and rampent and your experience is just one example of what is going on there. Thinik of how the employees are being watched to make sure they are not talking to the press, not saying what they feel so they don’t loose their job. I would equate it to a prison on lock down.

  33. General B said on 21 Mar 2009 at 4:23 pm:
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    My wife was unfortunate enough to have worked there and the organization sold her information to a third party. While she was still working there, no less.

  34. RN2 said on 21 Mar 2009 at 5:10 pm:
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    Hey General B–what information can they sell to a third party from an employee?

  35. General B said on 21 Mar 2009 at 5:35 pm:
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    I’m not sure what is legal and what isn’t, but they sold her name, the fact that she was a Registered Nurse, and our home phone number. She was a manager for God’s sake, and we had some telemarketer calling us asking her is she wanted to work for a hospice company.

  36. Kelly D said on 23 Mar 2009 at 4:37 pm:
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    can you say PR campaign? trying to make people forget about what’s happening?


  37. RadTech said on 23 Mar 2009 at 8:58 pm:
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    They are idiots.

  38. Frank Powell said on 23 Mar 2009 at 11:00 pm:
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    I sent this days ago to the accouting department at PWH as a favor for a friend, who’s wife works there. Based on the lack of return mail and her not mentioning anything to him, I do not believe the communication got through, I think it was blocked by some kind of email blocking net they have set up that other posters were talking about. So, now it is an “open letter” to the PWH accounting staff presented here on BVBL, the last beacon of free speech PWH employees still have:

    Your accounting job will not survive a merger.

    Good afternoon, ladies. I apologize for the startling statement but I had to make sure that I have your attention. I’m an old golfing amigo of one of your husbands, but please don’t hold that against me. He gave me your names, so please don’t hold that against him. I will not say who, and if you realize it for yourself and you know me, then I’d suggest not making mention of it to keep yourself out of trouble in the time you have left at PWH. I’m writing this because I’ve read the papers, have talked to someone who has a serious stake in your career and has told me what you’ve been told, and because I truly believe that us bean counters need to stick together, especially after what I went through myself.

    I was a senior accountant at Loudoun hospital from 1983 through October 2004, when I lost my job to the INOVA merger. The rest of my department went along with me.

    Prior to the merger, I was told that Loudoun would grow and my career there would be safe. I was lied to, as you are being lied to.

    Accounting is a corporate, home office position. When your hospital is sold and ‘merged’ there will be no more corporate. Corporate will be somewhere else. The numbers will be crunched somewhere else. AP will be done somewhere else. Checks will be cut somewhere else. Payroll will be processed somewhere else. There is no doubt about this. PWH will be a branch, a part of a network, a chain like a retail store. The home office will no longer be in Manassas. Accounting will no longer be in Manassas.

    Accounting is always done at the home office, the corporate office. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Anyone who tells you to expect ‘growth’ is twisting words around, words that do not apply to a department like accounting. Ask your executives to tell you that they’re expecting growth for accounting. Just don’t stand too close in case their noses start growing.

    When the time comes and your hospital’s ‘partner’ is announced, call them. Call one of their branch hospitals (again, not the home office or main hospital, because that is not what PWH will be) and ask if they have their own accounting department. If they do, ask exactly what they do and how many work there.

    Use your common sense. Look at the hospital structure and realize what jobs are home office, corporate jobs. Tell your friends in those department’s what’s coming and to protect themselves. Feel free to write me if you have questions. Information is the power. Your hospital will no longer be the seat of power, it will no longer be corporate, it will no longer be the home office, do not forget this.

    By way of more of a warning, do not allow yourself to show up for work one morning and be unceremoniously told to leave. Organize amongst yourselves. Tell them you deserve to be taken care of. Find out exactly what you will receive in terms of severance and if they have no plan for that in place then tell them they need to make such a plan. Do not doubt that such plans are in place for the executives. This is no time to be unemployed.

    For a final example of my personal experience with the kind of deception I suffered before Loudoun sold me and my department out, I have to tell you to be careful who you trust. When our merger plans were announced, we were told not only that we were safe but that no people were definitely going to go and that no one was receiving preferential treatment. Our execs were on a separate payroll, so the majority of our office did not know about their sweetheart deals and severance arrangements. Those in charge of the executive payroll of course received a similar package in exchange for their silence and being their accomplice in dishonesty.

    If you have this same type of setup at PWH as we did and as most community non-profits do, do not trust those in control of executive pay and do not believe a word they say. They will already have a variation of the execs’ sweetheart deals in place for themselves. Yes ma’am, the ol’ golden parachute. Tell them you deserve something too, and don’t wait for the other shoe to drop to start looking out for yourself and at other opportunities. They may tell you the merger process will take months oreven years, and this may be true, they may keep you on for this or hire kids who are merger experts and will be cheaper, but the fact is that accountingwill be going away. I am truly sorry. I’m here for any advice I might be able to give, so write me, ask questions and I’ll do what I can.

    Right now you still have the power to make sure you’re treated
    appropriately. Best wishes and be strong!


  39. the REAL Save PWHS said on 26 Mar 2009 at 1:55 pm:
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    thanks for the attention, BVBL!

    everyone, please check us out here:


    big things will be happening very soon and we’ll need Manassas to stand up with us.


  40. Save PWHS said on 26 Mar 2009 at 1:59 pm:
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    thanks for the attention, BVBL!

    please visit us at


    big things will be happening very soon and we’ll need Manassas to stand up with us!


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