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Thumbs Up! - May 7, 2012

First up this week must be a hearty congratulations to every graduate from every school in the area. Whether it is from kindergarten or college, graduation is a pivotal point in a person's life. The time marks an accomplishment and a change. While the actual commencement services have lost the sense of reverence once exhibited, the day remains one of recognition and celebration for the graduates and their friends and family. Here's wishing safe travel for those on the road to honor a graduate and, to each student, a bright future!

Likely the greatest headline in the newspaper all week, "Dougherty seeing decline in teen pregnancies," was indeed reason for celebration. On National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Girls Inc. and the Phoebe Network of Trust held a community luncheon in observation of day and to share some good news for the county. Since 1994, Dougherty County has seen a 25 percent reduction in pregnancies for girls ages 15-19. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the benefits of this reduction. Among the many upsides are reduced absenteeism from school, fewer dropouts, a more qualified work force and less poverty.

Look up the word "hero" in the dictionary and the following definition is found: "Any person, especially a man, admired for courage, nobility or exploits, especially in war." Last week, after a long, long wait, one of Albany's heroes was finally recognized for being just what the dictionary describes. Willie J. Robinson received the Bronze Star with Combat V for Valor during a ceremony at MCLB-Albany. Robinson was cited for his bravery during a firefight, with his actions enabling the evacuation of a wounded Marine. The heroic actions of this Marine took place while deployed south of DaNang, South Vietnam, in 1965. Delayed as it was, the honor due Willie J. Robinson has finally arrived.

The one-carat solitary diamond on a gold chain was the first gift of jewelry, aside from her wedding rings, that Calvin Eubanks gave to his wife, Pat. The couple were married for 49 years before his death in 2009 and that necklace was a keepsake like none other for his widow. In need of repair on its clasp, Pat Eubanks carried the valuable necklace to the Albany Mall. Afterwards, she went to a restaurant at the food court and left the box with the necklace on the counter. Heartbroken to see a video of an unknown lady pick up the box, look inside and then place it in her purse, Eubanks sent out a plea for the return of her necklace, asking no questions and with no intention to press charges. It worked. The necklace appeared in the mailbox of her Edison home. Thumbs Up to the person who placed it there.

Sha'Camryn Malone, a fifth-grade student at Alice Coachman Elementary School, received the 2012 Young Citizenship Award from the Exchange Club. Members of Sha'Camryn's family, Alice Coachman Principal Pat Victor, and her teacher, Jordan Cambron, watched as Exchange Club President Ray Hinman and Committee Chairman Barry Davis presented the high honors student with a framed certificate, $50 and a thesaurus. Sha'Camryn was chosen for the award from among all other fifth graders nominated in Dougherty and Lee county public and private schools. The award which is presented annually, recognizes excellence in citizenship, attitude, academics, service, and leadership. Way to go!