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Thumbs Up! - June 4, 2012

About three weeks ago, the Exchange Club of Albany named it most recent A.C.E. The club uses the acronym in honoring an individual each year for Accepting the Challenge of Excellence. The honor goes to someone who, with courage, persistence and plain old-fashioned hard work, overcomes great obstacles. This year the honor went to Westover High School student Richard O. Smith III. When Richard was just 18 months old, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Physical therapy and several surgeries later, a procedure intended to help the young fellow did not go well and he finished his sixth-grade year as a homebound student. While the prognosis of the physicians was a dim one, Richard felt otherwise. This young man's determination to overcome trauma has left him with big plans for the future. The award came with a scholarship to give him a head start. Richard will no doubt take it from there.

Election time is here with a sign or two or three in many yards all over the area. One particular familiar name will not be seen on bumper stickers, signs or the ballot for the first time in a very long time. Betty Johnson of Lee County will not run for re-election to her seat on the Lee County Commission. Prior to the commission, Johnson served 28 years in the tax commission office. After a total of 40 years serving the citizens of the county she loves dearly, Johnson says simply that it is time to move on. For all the time so unselfishly given, thank you. For the years ahead, here's wishing you nothing but good health and lots of happiness.

Among the dozens and dozens of nurses on the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital staff, including those at Phoebe North, choosing the "Nurse of the Year" had to be a daunting task. RN Jill Wilcox was selected from a group of 45 nurses who had been nominated by their peers for the 2012 Nurse of the Year award. Recognized for her exemplary dedication to her patients, Wilcox works in the Pain Management Clinic at Phoebe North. Wilcox is also a clinical instructor and teaches at Darton College. Congratulations!

Each year, the Officer's Spouses Club at MCLB-Albany awards college scholarships to military and civilian family members. Countless hours are spent supporting a major fundraising event, the annual Scholarship and Charity Auction. The fruit of this year's labor was more than $16,000. The OSC awarded several community enrichment grants to local nonprofits also. Those receiving scholarships this year were Lauren Cordle, Jacob Kennedy, Amber Young, Russell Stranberg, Mackenzie Davis , Matthew Dickinson and Hayley Hutcherson.

It was not a walk in the proverbial ballpark, but Westwood Academy in Camilla never gave up. Westwood took the first game of its championship series against Crisp Academy, only to lose the second game. But it was the third and deciding game that proved just which team was best, and Westwood escaped with a 12-11 victory. After two days, three games and more than 50 runs in the south Georgia heat, Westwood took the GISA Class A state title for the first time since 1988. It was a battle of the Wildcats, and the best cats won. Way to go!!