• Avery Thomas Harrison of Ocean City and Bridget Ilene Keto, of Orange County, Calif., have announced their engagement.
The bride-to-be is the daughter of Harri John Keto of Kuortane, Finland and Alice Mary Keto of New York, New York. The groom is the son of George Alfred Harrison of Berlin and Elizabeth Hall Harrison of Catonsville.
Although Avery and Bridget first met in law school at the University of San Diego School of Law in 2008, they also share another collegiate bond. Avery graduated from Duke University in 2007. Bridget graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. However, the rivalry of their alma maters has only brought them closer, especially during basketball season.
Avery and Bridget are practicing attorneys in Orange County, Calif. The wedding is planned for April 2014 in Newport Beach, Calif. near their home in Costa Mesa, Calif.
• Terrence C. Purnell, 42, of Berlin, continues to ascend the military rank structure.
On June 1, the U.S. Army promoted Purnell to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He entered the Army at the lowest enlisted rank shortly after graduating from Stephen Decatur High School in 1988.
Purnell served as an enlisted man for nine years and two months before completing Officer Candidate School and entering the commissioned officer ranks. Since 1997, he has been promoted four times and has earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees.
Purnell’s former assignments have included North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Korea as well as combat deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently on special assignment in Tennessee. His wife, Tibu, and two daughters, Christiana and Chloe, will relocate to Fort Bragg, N.C. for his next tour of duty.
• Marine Corps Lance Corporal Gunner Braniecki, born and raised in the Worcester County area, recently received a number of awards for his service to the country, including the Combat Action Ribbon, Afghan Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal and a Meritorious Mast for his actions while serving in Afghanistan.
Braniecki enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 10, 2010. After graduating from recruit training, he was transferred to the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C. After completing Marine Combat Training, he was transferred to his Military Occupational Specialty School at Fort Sill, Okla. where he would graduate with academic honors from the Field Artillery Cannon Crewman Course.
After several deployments, he was promoted to his present grade on Dec. 1, 2011. Throughout his deployments, he has conducted 25 foot patrols to include eight night movements engaging in more than 23 firefights against the enemy. As the point man for his squad, Braniecki was credited with identifying three Improvised Explosive Devices and subsequently saving numerous lives.
After returning home in May 2012, he was billeted as both a Howitzer Assistant Section Chief and Howitzer Gunner on three different Howitzer sections. He was selected to represent the Artillery Community for the commissioning of the USS Anchorage while serving as a member of Task Force Denali from April 15 to May 15, 2013. He received a Letter of Appreciation from the Commander of Task Force Denali and the captain of the USS Anchorage.
Braniecki continues to serve as a Howitzer Gunner and stands ready to deploy aboard the 31st MEU.
Braniecki now lives with his wife, Alyssa, in Oceanside, Calif. and they are expecting their first child in October.
• Kelley Chandler, of Berlin, was named to the Dean’s List at Villanova University for the spring 2013 semester. Chandler is studying Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
• Taylor Miller, of Berlin, was named to the Dean’s List at Stevenson University for the Spring 2013 semester.
• Ashley Hrebik, of Berlin, made the Dean’s List for spring semester at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
• Gordon Abercrombie, a recent graduate of Worcester Preparatory School, was named the US Lacrosse Academic All-American for the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“I am so happy that Gordon was selected for this honor. There is only one Academic All-American in boys’ lacrosse selected from our region, which considering all the outstanding players and students on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, makes it an exceptional honor — perfect way for Gordon to complete his career as a Fighting Mallard,” Coach Kevin Gates said.
At the close of each school year US Lacrosse awards All-Academic honors to players from each region, who exhibit exemplary lacrosse skills, good sportsmanship on the field, and represent high standards of academic achievement in the classroom. The players also should have left their mark beyond the lacrosse field and the classroom by making significant contributions of service to the school and/or community.
Abercrombie is the son of Mrs. and Mrs. Mike Abercrombie of Salisbury. He will attend Furman University in the fall.