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Thumbs Up! May 5, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: Good news to start the week

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines the word ‘patriot’ in this manner: “One who loves and zealously supports one’s own country.” An additional reference could rightly be added to say, “see Billy Manning.” The first command sergeant major of the Georgia National Guard, Manning joined the Army National Guard’s Albany-based 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment in 1954, shortly after graduating from high school. Active duty lasted from 1958 to 1960. One day after he left active duty, Manning rejoined the Georgia Guard as a full-time technician, moving up in rank all along the way. A career that began in 1954 technically came to an end when Manning retired in 1996 but his love for soldiers and country never waned. When the man who was the picture of patriotism died last November he left behind his wife of 52 1/2 years, three daughters and six grandchildren. He also left behind an untold number of men who owe their successes as soldiers to him. It was only proper that the Albany National Guard Armory has officially been renamed the Command Sgt. Major Billy GT. Manning Readiness Center. Manning did not act in a way to gain notoriety in the zealous love he had for his country, but now his name will go down in history as an example of just what it truly means to be a patriot.

May 10 marks the 22nd anniversary of America’s largest single day of giving. On that day the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be held in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, Campbell Soup, Feeding America and other partners. Last year, 74 million pounds of food was collected. Estimates for that one day are that enough food to feed 30 million people was left for mail carriers to collect. The need is crucial this time of year as most food pantries and food banks get the majority of their donations over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. By the time spring rolls around, many shelves are empty. When summer arrives, children can no longer count on breakfast and lunch at school. On Saturday, leave a bag by your mailbox with non-perishable food items and the carrier will pick it up as he or she delivers your mail. Helping feed the hungry does not get any easier than that.

The caregiver of a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia has one of the most difficult jobs on this planet. The diseases that rob the elderly of what was once a good life also robs from the family members that care for them. It is an around the clock job, one that is made worse by the fact that the deterioration is in someone much loved. After two years of planning, organizing and training volunteers, the Bainbridge Alzheimer and Dementia Adult Daycare has been given a home. Beginning June 18, clients can be left without worry with qualified volunteers at the Wiregrass Church community building one day each month. For six hours the caregiver can rest as their charge enjoys an opening devotional and pledge to the flag, chair exercises, arts and crafts, music and singing, lunch and snacks. Unless you have been a caregiver, this may not sound like a big deal but those that have are in that role will say differently. There will be no charge for attendance.

It did not take long for at least one squawker to spin the recent purchase of Mimosa Trailer Park into a negative light. So, squawker, you are correct that Linda and Darrel Ealum intend to make money off their investment. That is the intention of most folks that invest money in whatever project they choose. The property has long been a eyesore and dangerous place to live. The once thriving community of 94 trailers is down to 32 with four others more shell than anything else. The Ealums plan first to remove those four hulls and then repair the roads through the park. Lots will be redrawn allowing for doublewides and there will be a push toward property ownership rather than renting. The willingness to tackle this project with their own money is cause enough for this week’s thumbs up.