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Thumbs Up! - Sept. 9, 2013

Way back in 1912, three men in Kansas City, Mo., started the first Sertoma Club. Now the clubs are common among the multitude of civic organizations found across the country and across the world. Members, of course, would know the origin of the name ‘Sertoma’ but most people do not. Simply, the name stands for service to mankind. A recent donation made to the Lily Pad by the Artesian City Sertoma Club is a perfect example of just what this group, and many others like it, consider service. The Lily Pad, while a great asset to Albany, is not a place one wants to go. It is a safe haven for victims, including children, of sexual assault. The exam room at the Lily Pad is just that. With the donation of funds by the Artesian City Sertoma Club, the room has been renovated to insure privacy and as much comfort as possible as a victim is interviewed, photographed and examined. There is even an outside entrance to allow for more privacy. This is service to mankind at its best.

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On August 22, Andrew College in Cuthbert bestowed the college’s most prestigious award to a former board member. The Order of Andrew goes only to those people who demonstrate an unending dedication to the education and enrichment of the students of Andrew College. This year’s recipient began as a board member in 1986 and served for 27 years which ncluded two major fundraisers totaling nearly $40 million. Also during that time a new residence hall and a new chapel were constructed on campus. The honor went to none other than Albany’s own Emily Jean McAfee. Congratulations.

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Parent volunteers at Turner Elementary School have plans to create a school garden. Along with the volunteers, students will be involved in every aspect of the project from preparing the soil, to planting, to watering, to weeding, to harvesting and best of all, a chance to literally eat the fruits of their labor. Fall plantings will include collards, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, sweet mint and radishes. What lessons can be learned from such a project? There are too many to list.

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Mayor Dorothy Hubbard knows better than to look at this community through rose-colored glasses. But a year ago she jumped on board with Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful and initiated “the Mayor’s Call to Service” to clean up Albany’s trashy appearance. Many responded in one way or another. Neighborhood watches grew in size and number. Individuals, at least some, became more aware of their surroundings and more conscientious about not littering. But the mayor’s pleas fell on too many deaf ears. In a recent press conference held in the midst of an illegal dump-site, Mayor Hubbard was clearly disheartened. “It’s disgusting,” she said. “We’ve been working on this initiative for a year now and it’s not working. We are going to start punishing violators. I hope the courts enforce consequences to the highest level.” Ditto.

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The Southwest Georgia Academy girls softball team really wanted to beat Tiftarea Academy on Aug. 30. The two teams have met often through the years and the Panthers were usually trouble for the Warriors. Not so this time, as SGA defeated Tiftarea by a score of 12-0 in a four-inning game. Only afterwards did Coach Tommy Manry tell his Lady Warriors that the victory marked his 500th win. Good job, coach, and what a way to make that milestone, players. Manry has been a teacher and coach for 44 years, 11 of those at SGA.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board