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Thumbs Up! - March 19, 2012

On January 12, 2006, during a mission in North Iraq, the lead vehicle in a convoy was exploded by an improvised explosive device. Present in the second vehicle of the convoy was Specialist Wesley Braswell of Albany. Braswell rescued three fellow servicemen from the inferno ahead of him. Prior to being able to realize this amazing feat, a suspected enemy vehicle began approaching. Braswell fired his weapon at the approaching vehicle which sent it off in a different direction. As if all that action was not enough, the maps the men relied on to navigate the terrain were destroyed in the blaze. Again it was Braswell that saved the day by safely guiding the convoy back to their base. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop bestowed the Bronze Star with Valor and the Combat Medic Badge to Specialist Braswell last week. The ceremony was small and the presentation belated, but the status of hero was not diminished.

According to Maj. Bill Berry of the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit, a recent bust yielded one of the largest amounts of crack cocaine for this area in years. The three suspects were "cooking" the crack when the raid began and the finished product just a few hours from distribution on Albany streets, police said. The bust stopped that distribution and removed three dangerous people from an Albany neighborhood. A special thank you goes to the anonymous tipster that led ADDU to make the bust. One person can make a difference.

Mark the calendar for March 31. One of the biggest events of the year for children ages 10 and under is just around the corner. At 10 a.m. that Saturday, hundreds of dozens of prize filled eggs will be scattered about Tift Park for a grand-sized Easter egg hunt. There will also be arts and crafts, games with prizes and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Kids must bring an adult. Admission is free.

Sixty-five years ago, the Boys and Girls Clubs established the practice of bestowing a recognition called Youth of the Year upon one of its members. Judges look at the nominees in the areas of service to the club, community and family, academic success, moral character, life goals, poise and public speaking. of the hundreds of Albany children that are served local Boys and Girls Clubs, three finalist were chosen this year. Runners-up for the organization's most prestigious award were Jaime Belk and Elisabeth Bankston. The Albany 2012 Youth of the Year is Marcus Ford. Ford will go on to compete at the state level. Congratulations to each of these fine young people.

It was 12 years ago that Worth County Primary School began the development of its outside classroom, the Lamb's Yard. Loads of topsoil were brought in, trees planted, walkways poured and with the help of many volunteers, the space has flourished. There is a gazebo, a musical playscape, an ABC garden, a storybook garden with Jack's beanstalk, the tooth fairy's house, a pick-me space where little hands are free to pick the flowers and even an experimental garden where children can bring their own seeds to plant. Lamb's Yard has been named among the top three school gardens in the state and has won numerous awards.

As Bobby Tripp is enjoying his retirement years after serving as director of Dougherty County Emergency Management Services for three decades, he can rest easy knowing the department is in good hands. Greg Rowe has worked with the department for almost 30 years himself as he steps into Tripp's shoes. Rowe says it took 19 years for him to get his first supervisory promotion and says he never really aspired to be the top dog but is "honored and privileged to have been given the opportunity." Dougherty County feels honored and privileged and honored to have had Bobby Tripp and now, Greg Rowe.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board