Thumbs Up! - Oct. 10, 2011

Congratulations to Shawn Urquhart. After studying graphic arts at Florida A&M followed by two years active duty in the Marine Corps (with an additional decade of reserve duty), Urquhart joined the Georgia State Patrol. At Trooper School, some ill-informed instructor told her she had two strikes against her by being black and female. That was the wrong, or in this case, the right thing to say to the young trooper-to-be. Not only did she make it through the training and several assignment locations (and promotions), in September, a new title was earned by Urquhart. She is now Georgia State Patrol Post Commander-Albany SFC Shawn Urquhart. This Albany High School graduate took a bit of a winding road but came home to the Albany post in 2004. This hardworking lady has now made it all the way to the top.

What do most people do when they reach the age of 96? Many do a lot of sitting, usually watching quite a bit of television. Not so for Martha Waddell of Terrell County. While certainly not as active as she was at say, 90, Waddell stays busy. Her favorite pastime is quilting. She makes just the quilt tops now, on a pedal-powered sewing machine, and lets others do the finish work. Quilting was something learned at about age 10 with scraps of fabric given to her by her mother. This fine lady also walks unassisted and tends her own flowers. Martha Waddell, you are a great example of the female side of the Greatest Generation.

Anytime an adult takes the time to read to children, he or she is making a difference in their young lives. As a part of “Celebrate Georgia Pre-K Week,” reports came in of two very busy men doing just that. State Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, shared the story of “Splat the Cat” with youngsters at The Family Tree, the child development center operated by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Meanwhile, the Lee County pre-k was entertained with the story of “Pete the Ct” read by State Rep Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg. Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedules to read to these little ones.

Shoes from the H.E.A.R.T. is a local, non-profit group that provides quality shoes for the school children right here in our community. H.E.A.R.T. (Hands Extended Across Reaching Together) began its mission of helping people way back in 1980. This will be the third year of the specific mission of putting shoes on feet. After observing kids walking to school in sandals in cold weather and walking on the backs of outgrown shoes, the need became very obvious. Ill-fitting shoes are not healthy, limit physical activity and make a child an easy target for ridicule and bullying. October is the annual fundraising month for H.E.A.R.T. with a goal to put 800 new pairs of shoes on school children in December. Make a donation of any amount and know exactly what it will be used for ... call (229) 883-0200 for more information.

A frequent flyer in this column is Albany Technical College. The value of this institution really cannot be expressed in just a few words or statistics. In these times of business closures, rising costs and the need to be highly qualified to get what jobs are available, ATC graduates have been successful when others have not. But, for right now, The Albany Herald simply wishes to say, “Happy 50th Birthday” and here’s looking forward to the next half-century.