Thumbs Up! - Nov. 25, 2013

See who deserves a thumbs up this week.

The actions of Michael Jones may have gone unnoticed by many, but to those who are fortunate to be an associate, family member or friend, he is a real star. After leaving the U.S. Army in 1992, the Albany resident returned home to care for his ailing parents as well as help support his sister and her two children. After the loss of his father, Jones also lost his job with the closing of Cooper Tire. The health of Jones’ mother worsened and, unable to find work, Jones lost his home. Although it became necessary to place his mother in a nursing home, this son’s dedication never waned. He continues to visit her regularly, takes her to doctor’s appointments and to dialysis and even out on dinner dates. Staff members at the nursing home and the dialysis center rave about how helpful Jones is, and not just with his mother. At the annual Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving’s National Summit Gala, Jones was recognized as the 2013 Family Caregiver of the Year for Georgia. As a primary caregiver for about two decades, through the good times and bad, Michael Jones is the man every mother dreams about. Congratulations.

On an envelope inserted several times this month in The Albany Herald, the Salvation Army asks this question: “Will you share your blessings with our hungry and hurting neighbors this Thanksgiving?” The question poses no dilemma really. The answer is simply you will or you won’t. The Salvation Army is the place a lot of hungry people will find a meal on Thanksgiving Day. There will be no gatherings with extended family members, football games or grandchildren to spoil. Any amount of financial support will help, but for an amazingly low donation of $39.90, 10 people can be fed and it will not be college dorm cuisine. All donations made locally stay right here, providing nourishment, comfort and something for which to be thankful.

When someone is robbed or has his or her car stolen in Albany, a call goes out to the Albany Police Department. When the crooks are caught, the same APD may or may not receive a thank you. When the crime goes unsolved, most people will not hesitate to criticize the APD. Departments all across this country have the opportunity to work toward accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, usually about a three-year undertaking. In just 18 months, under the direction of Chief John Proctor, the APD has reached that goal based on 480 standards touching every policy and procedure within the department. Although the pride was evident on the chief’s face as he made the announcement publicly, he made it quite clear that this was the effort of many. The fact that the APD is now accredited nationally and statewide, one of only about 130 in the country, is indeed something we can all be thankful for.

It may not be the Hilton but the Albany Rescue Mission has sheltered many a man and woman over the last 25 years. Larry Hample never turns away a hungry soul. Twice every day, the Mission serves two public meals to anyone who appears in line. More than 85,000 meals were served last year. Residents are required to work a 12-week, Bible-based program that shows them how to get back on their feet. They are told that there are no past transgressions which cannot be forgiven. Hample was 42 years old when he started the Albany Rescue Mission, with no idea that 25 years later it would still be in existence, and has never accepted a dime of government money. Think about that.