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Thumbs Up! March 10, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: See who deserves a thumbs up this week.

Megan Hollomon’s mother has been a part of preserving her daughter’s memory in a way few parents are able to do. Carol, often simply referred to as “Megan’s mom,” has been an advocate for Easter Seals Southern Georgia’s respite program since day one. As a parent of a special needs child, Megan’s mom knows how difficult the day to day care can be and howcaregivers and children, too, sometimes need a break from one another. That is just what a respite home provides. The sudden death of 14-year-old Megan shed even more light on the need for a respite home and Easter Seals took the proverbial ball and ran with it. A home on Palmyra Road has provided not just a place to leave a special needs child for a few days but one that is safe, expertly staffed and fun at the same time. In celebrating the 10th anniversary of Megan’s House, the dream of a new, larger, more accommodating house was shared with some 150 Easter Seals supporters, parents, staff and families of special needs children by Carol Hollomon. Supporters came close to the day’s goal of raising an initial $25,000 with $23,000. In attendance was Frank Berry, Georgia’s Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Development(DBHDD), who then announced that the project would receive $100,000 from the state. Before the commissioner could return to his seat, an anonymous donor ponied up the remaining $2,000. What a way to celebrate.

Some of the best ideas come from a simple statement or comment. The topic of surplus school equipment arose when Lee County School Superintendent Larry Walters spoke to Dougherty Rotary Club. As the discussion carried forth, Jennifer Vanston, Rotarian and executive director of Flint River Habitat for Humanity, envisioned a shipment of surplus school furniture and equipment to Liberia, an extremely impoverished African nation. It took planning, sponsors and a lot of goodwill but a 40-foot container filled with the best surplus items from schools in Lee, Dougherty and Worth counties as well as Sherwood Christian Academy, Far Horizons Montessori School and Deerfield Windsor School will soon leave by way of Savannah to school children in Liberia that sometimes sit on the floor when they get to attend classes.

Coming March 15 to the Government Center downtown Albany is a program that could prove useful to residents near and far. The Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Police Department, Central Monitoring, Crime Stoppers and neighborhood watch groups are holding a Crime Prevention Basics seminar. Topics and tips will range from protecting the home, personal identity, money, property and vehicles. The event is free and will kick off at 1 p.m.

There are entirely too many people to list individually for the success of the recent Albany Marathon and Mardi Gras Festival. And for that same reason, it is important that each participant, vendor, volunteer and attendee receive a hearty thank you for making the day one to remember. One group of volunteers that never shares the limelight is what is called the Bike Brigade. This group of people escorts the lead runners of both the marathon and half-marathon, keeping the course clear and validating the race results. To this group and everyone involved, thumbs up.

It is an honor, a high one, to be a finalist for Dougherty County’s STAR Student/STAR Teacher. Congratulations go out to each student and teacher and especially to the top duo. Deerfield’s Amy Rao and her teacher, Janet Guillebeau, are the county’s biggest STARs for 2014.