Thumbs Up! June 9, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: Good news to start the week

Mentors in Action, or M.I.A., is a volunteer group of Marines and civilian Marines that spend time in the Dougherty County School System throughout the school year. Members work to enhance the lives of school-age children and provide a much-needed role model for the students. Founded by Staff Sgt. Juana Snell in 2012, another successful year was noted at a recent luncheon at the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany. Educators from International Studies Elementary Charter School, where the program began, as well as Southside Middle School and Radium Springs Elementary School were recognized for their eager reception to the program. Mentors from the Marine Corps Systems Command and Marine Corps Logistics Command were recognized for their efforts. M.I.A. accomplishments for the 2013-14 school year included the expansion from one school to three and the participation of 34 mentors including Marines, one civilian Marine and members of the Albany State University Global Ambassadors program. Snell was applauded by Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB-Albany, and by Dr. Zeda George from International Studies for her commitment to the children and the schools. Collectively, more than 680 students were mentored during approximately 320 volunteer hours.

A program called Take a Bite Out of Hunger is sponsored by First Fruits Marketing out of the state of Washington. For the fifth consecutive year, Harveys Supermarkets have participated in the battle against hunger by donating apples, a lot of apples. This year alone Harveys stores gave 13,700 pounds of fresh apples to the Second Harvest Food Bank which serves 30 Southwest Georgia counties. That brought Harveys’ five year donation total to more than 180,000 pounds.

The Albany Police Department is accepting applications for its Basic Firearm Safety Course to be held on June 21. The eight-hour class will cover basic handgun safety, legal issues and the handling skills needed to use a handgun for self-defense. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older and sign a release allowing for a basic background check. For folks that are not skilled and/or lack the education needed to be a safe firearms owner, this course is just what is needed. When and if the use of a gun is needed by an individual, this course provides vital education required before a situation arises. Seating is limited, so sign up today. For more information call (229) 483-6298.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, is now in the short rows of his tenure as a U.S. senator. That, however, has not stopped him from the work he was elected to do. Chambliss penned a letter to President Barack Obama after the release from Guantanamo Bay of five Afghan nationals in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive by the Taliban since 2009. Part of the issue Chambliss wishes addressed is why Congress was not properly informed before this action was taken. The senator also wants the American people to be allowed access to the records and assessments of the five, all classified as high-risk by the Pentagon. Kudos to Sen. Chambliss for speaking out about what he believes is the right thing to do and not simply riding out his final days in office.

The Flint RiverQuarium and Thronateeska Heritage Center are two of more than 2,000 Blue Star Museums from across the nation. The collaboration of museums is made possible through the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense. Participating museums offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and up to five family members from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In Georgia alone there are 24 participants including the two already mentioned plus the Andersonville National Historic Site, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and others. This is just one small way to show appreciation to military families for their willingness to serve our country.