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Thumbs Up - August 7, 2011

A hearty thank you goes out to the Albany Police Department for another fun-filled National Night Out. Various agencies had tables with information about available services. Hungry youngsters (and adults) were treated to free hot dogs and hamburgers. There was music and plenty of bouncy houses to keep the large turnout entertained. Fifty bags filled with school supplies were given away as were balloon wristlets and hats. The heat of the night did nothing to stop the children from waiting a turn at the ever-popular face painting tables. NNO is an annual event that draws the public and the law officers together -- a team that can truly make a difference in the community.

When a woman goes for a breast biopsy, it is usually because her physician has been alerted to some questionable findings on a mammogram. Many times, the biopsy reveals that there is nothing to worry about -- in other words, no cancer. The stress of the possibility, the biopsy procedure and the nerve-shattering wait for results can only be understood by someone that has traveled that road. Thanks to the Junior Women's Club of Albany, each patient who undergoes such a procedure at Phoebe's Carlton Breast Health Center receives a gift bag filled with offers of comfort. Each bag includes a water bottle, crackers, mints, a pair of fuzzy socks and an inspirational book. Each bag also comes with a blanket. The thoughtfulness of the club's members shows a genuine sense of caring to a patient in an uncertain situation and will long be remembered by the recipients.

Madison Lamb is a 12-year-old student at Randolph-Southern School. She began a fundraiser because, in her words, "I wanted to help people in need." A lover of peanut butter, Madison raised more than $300 for Peanut Butter for the Hungry. The money will go to purchase peanut paste, which will be mixed with powdered milk and added vitamins and minerals. Known as ready-to-use therapeutic food, no mixing or refrigeration is required. The health of many, many children worldwide has already been restored and lives saved with RUTF. Others will follow, a least in part because of one middle school peanut butter fan from Randolph Southern in Shellman, Ga.

The percentage of students in the Dougherty County School System that actually made it to class last week was not as high as teachers and administrators would have liked. The fact, however, that around 2,000 more kids showed up to start the 2011-12 school year than the previous year is a very measurable improvement. The push by the school system, especially Superintendent Joshua Murfree, to get students where they were supposed to be on Aug. 1 definitely paid off. If you are a parent, relative or neighbor of a child who, for some unfathomable reason, has yet to start the school year, do everyone a favor and help get that student to class ... today!

Francis Flagg Putney donated over half of the money required to build a much-needed hospital in Albany with just two simple requests. Putney asked that the facility be named after his mother, Phebe Putney, and that the hospital serve all races. If now, 100 years later, Putney could see Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, all its real estate, all its satellite hospitals, the clinics, the high-tech health care availability, the impressive number of staff and its wealth, one can only speculate what his reaction would be. From The Albany Herald to Phoebe, Happy 100th!