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Thumbs Up! - Dec. 17, 2012


Bainbridge’s Ryan Adams was 8 years old when he figured out that some of his friends were doing odd jobs to buy things they wanted that were not likely to find a place under the Christmas tree. He decided to sell hot chocolate in front of his home and managed to raise $150. But before the youngster began shopping, he heard a story about a lady whose house had burned, leaving the family with nothing. Ryan donated his wad of cash along with his old PlayStation to the family. The joy of giving became much more important and last year the amount raised to help others soared to $1,200. On Saturday, Ryan held his fifth hot chocolate, candy and baked goods sale in a parking lot on Shotwell Street. While this year’s total is yet to be known as this column was written, the facts remain the same. One young boy, now an adolescent, has the true meaning of Christmas all figured out.

It happens fairly often, girls grow out their hair only to have it cut for Locks of Love. The locks are made into hairpieces for cancer patients, bald as a result of chemotherapy. In fact, 80 percent of all donations come from children, largely girls. And then there is Albany’s Chuck Knight. It was on December 3, 2010, that Knight got a haircut. He did not return to the chair again until December 7, 2012. When Creed Campbell was sick, Knight began the process of growing out his hair to reach the 10-inch minimum needed to make a donation. Creed died in the spring of this year at the young age of seven. Knight continued toward his goal. It is unusual for a grown man to donate to Locks of Love, but Chuck Knight is a unique character of unusual kindness.

Girls Inc. of Albany is the success that it is for a number of reasons, not the least of which is community support. When there is a fundraiser, there is profit. When the girls need to see what they could become one day, they need only look around at all the successful women in local businesses, educational institutes, government, health care and more. Last week, however, it was the girls’ turn to give back, and give back they did. Activities included a recycling drive, a visit to Palmyra Nursing Home, a food collection and more. From self-discipline to mental and physical health to self-esteem and academic achievement, Girls Inc. provides the programs that will guide the girls into happy and productive citizens, ones that know how to give as well as receive.

Time is running short, but it is not to late to make a donation that can provide a child with a Christmas to remember. South Georgia State Patrol troopers will be more than happy to accept toys and cash donations. Albany Post 40 has already collected an impressive $3,000, with which toys and 26 brand new bicycles have been purchased. There is still time to give. Call the GSP, the Salvation Army, DFCS, a local church, the police department or the sheriff’s office ... these folks can help you help someone else this Christmas.

Recall the last time you felt like you were talking to a brick wall. That must surely be how Downtown Manager Aaron Blair feels ... quite often. It seems that regardless of what Blair presents as an idea to bring life back into downtown Albany, there are quite a few not-so-nice squawkers lined up to offer their unsolicited opinions. Well, here is one (OK, maybe more than one) opinion: Aaron Blair is a positive person with a creative mind who understands the use of tax allocation funds and grants. Despite the negativity of so many, he finds a way to tap into the resources (and not necessarily money) of those people who also see a future downtown. He is under-rated and under appreciated. For all you have done, want to do and will do, here’s a big “Thumbs Up”.