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Thumbs up! - July 8, 2013

Editorial

A special thank you is in order to the Exchange Club, Albany Recreation and Parks Department and all the people that made it possible for area residents to enjoy the celebration of our nation's 237th birthday. Some surrounding counties canceled or postponed festivities banking on bad weather to spoil the fun. But Suzanne Davis of the ARPD and members of the Exchange Club, eternal optimists, carried forth with plans and pulled off the first such celebration at the fairgrounds. There is no doubt that attendance was not what it could have been on a sunny day but those that did make it were in for a treat. There were vendors aplenty, activities galore, live music and, of course, the night wrapped up with a beautiful fireworks display. Again, thank you to each and every person who worked so diligently to make the celebration a safe and family-friendly event.

When Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church for the last 24 years, is not ministering directly to his congregation, he often can be found writing. Having spent 15 years as a youth and student minister, Catt has a special passion for young people. On this note, Catt and co-writer Amy Parker wrote the book "Courageous Teens" based on stories from the Bible about young people and their life experiences. When the book was nominated for the 2013 Christian Retailing's Best Award in Young Adult Non-fiction, Catt was pleased but had no expectations of winning. But that is what happened. Congratulations!

On June 8, the Big Steve Memorial Dice Ride was held in memory of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Sutton. Four days later, a check for $500 was presented to Brett and Kim Cleveland for their son, Jacob, after he completes boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. The presentation was made by Steven's father, Gene Sutton, as a way to honor his son and pay it forward. The 18-year-old recipient has already written to the Sutton family expressing his gratitude, not so much for the money as for the honor that came with it. Here's wishing Jacob Cleveland much success as he begins a lifelong journey of being known as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. To the Sutton family, rest assured that your son and his ultimate sacrifice will be remembered for many years to come.

Mark your calendars for 7 p.m. July 18. The first meeting of a new book club will gather at Our Daily Bread in downtown Albany on Washington Street. Club organizer Harriet Hollis hopes readers will come out to have an open and honest discussion based on the book "My Black Family, My White Privilege" by Michael Winger. The book was recommended by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation at the 2013 American Healing Conference as a way to promote healthy conversation about race. Leave your negativity at home, bring an open mind and a friend (or two). Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

In late June, Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard attended the 80th annual convention of the Georgia Municipal Association. It was at the convention that Hubbard was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Georgia Municipal Training Institute. To qualify for the award, Hubbard had to complete a minimum of 120 units of credit, including nine required courses, in addition to 40 six-unit courses. While Hubbard quite honestly stated that she did not "bargain for homework," that is exactly what was required. While the event was held in Savannah, there was little that resembled a vacation and little, if any, time for the beach. Mayor Hubbard, thank you for taking you position seriously and congrats on this accomplishment.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board