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Thumbs Up! - April 2, 2012

For some students, spring break is just getting started. For others, today marks the first day back after much-needed time away from the classroom. Whichever the case, all across the country pockets of students, especially college students, spent or will spend their free days helping others. Habitat for Humanity is a noted benefactor of many that labor on the construction of homes for those in need of a helping hand. Novice carpenters hammer, hold, fetch, clean, paint and perform numerous other tasks for people they don't know and, most often, in places they have never been. The volunteers pay their own way to get to the job site and are repaid with appreciation, big smiles, occasional hugs and in many cases, a free meal here and there. Flint River Habitat for Humanity was fortunate to have volunteers last week from Drexel University and Columbia College. These young folks will return to the books having given to others and learned some things along the way, even if not from a textbook.

Speaking of carpentry, the crew from Turner Job Corps' carpentry division has been a pretty sight to see as they swarm about the old NAPA building on Pine Avenue. Having looked much like a bombed-out shell of a long-forgotten structure, the blue shirts and white hard-hats seem like a bunch of spring flowers. While the completion of the planned Art Park at that location may yet be a while away, just the sprucing up is appreciated by those who see the location regularly. Fundraisers are on the horizon, and the entire project brings an air of excitement and expectation to downtown.

The availability of respite care for families of children with disabilities is spreading all across the southern part of the state. Because of one little girl with a mother that loved her dearly, others can benefit from the legacy of Megan Hollomon. Carol Hollomon lost her daughter in 2003 at age 14 but has kept her memory alive. With a true understanding of the needs of parents and caregivers of children with disabilities and a partnership with Easter Seals, Megan's House was opened in Albany in 2004. For 24 hours up to two weeks, children ages 2 through 17 can stay at Megan's House with skilled and dedicated staff as parents take care of business, go shopping, receive medical care or simply rest. A second home was opened in Waycross in 2006, a third in Valdosta in 2011 and now a fourth in Columbus on March 16.

Worth County High School participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients program. From Feb. 1-Feb. 24, pennies were collected to help fund blood cancer research as well as education and patient services. In less than one month, these teenagers raised $3,008.22. Astounding, amazing and awesome are just a few words that come to mind.

College softball players sometimes -- OK, almost always -- do not get the attention that the young ladies deserve. The players work hard before the season, during the season and in the off-season. The weather can be 45 degrees at game time one week and 85 degrees the next. The stands are seldom filled, yet the games go on. As the Darton Lady Cavaliers enjoy spring break, they are "resting" on a 30-game winning streak. That is no typo; the team has two and one-half dozen consecutive wins. The biggest "thumbs up" for the week definitely goes to the Lady Cavs softball team!

--The Albany Herald Editorial Board