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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | July 21, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star U.S. Army general, once said, "A hero is an everyday, ordinary person who has done something extraordinary. Honor them, praise them, and hope you will stand for what you believe in during a time of need." (As quoted in the book, "Beautifully Said." )

Thankfully for us, many Hot Springs and Garland County residents -- past and present -- have contributed to our well-being in ways that help us, heal us, and make us smile.

With those thoughts in mind, here is a "Thumbs-up" to the naming of Room 105 at the Hot Springs Convention Center in honor and memory of the late Mike Dugan, a baseball historian whose "tireless efforts" led to the Spa City's establishment as the birthplace of Major League Baseball's spring training.

Dugan, one of the founding historians of the Historic Hot Springs Baseball Trail and founder of the Hot Springs Baseball Weekend, was a community leader and human repository of "all things baseball" and selflessly shared his knowledge with the public and the sport's countless enthusiasts. Dedication of the Dugan Room will be at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 28.

Here's a "Thumbs-up" to another gesture of kindness and generosity.

Tammy Jones, an integral part of the "Good Works" team at Jackson House, often goes to the Dollar Tree to get can openers for its pantry. "We give hundreds of pounds of food away every day and are often asked about can openers," she explained.

And she added, "So I was in the store's long line to pay when the conversation happened. (I don't have many conversations that don't involve Jackson House.) A wonderful lady handed me a $20 bill and said, 'Let me buy them this time.' It was a heartfelt donation from a caring neighbor. She did not tell me her name, but I wanted to again say, 'Thank you,' to her."

On the good news front, "Thumbs-up" and "Congratulations" to the Garland County Historical Society for its recent recognition by the Arkansas Historical Association. The state association honored the historical society's annual publication, The Record 2020, with the Walter L. Brown Award for "Best Use of Graphics in a County or Historical Journal."

Kudos to Liz Robbins, GCHS executive director and journal editor, graphic designer and GCHS volunteer Donnavae Hughes, and cover artist, Gary Simmons, whose works are nationally renowned.

The Record is an invaluable source of information for local denizens, visitors, academic researchers, and media outlets.

The eve of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo is nigh so here's a "Thumbs-up" to a 19-year-old Caymanian gymnast with familial ties to Hot Springs.

Raegan Rutty, the granddaughter of Lou and Susan Siegel of the resort city, just recently received an invitation to compete in Tokyo from the Olympic Games Tripartite Commission and as reported in the hometown newspaper, is only the ninth woman from the Cayman Islands to take part in the Olympics.

We join with her mother, Angel Rutty, her sister, Hannah Rutty, the Siegels, and many friends in wishing Raegan all the best.

In the interest of free enterprise and creativity, we give our "Thumbs-up" to the four youngsters offering lemonade and handcrafted soft bracelets to neighbors and passersby on Woodlawn Avenue near the Willowbrook Terrace Condominiums.

The super sales quartet was supervised by a friendly adult at their driveway stand and we hope the summertime project proved profitable.

Personally speaking, this writer sends out a "Thumbs-up" to Shelby, an especially engaging cashier at the Kroger Store on Airport Road. While waiting in line at her checkout station, I noticed how she greeted every customer with an enthusiastic, "Hello," efficiently rang up and helped bag their grocery items, and then wished them well when the transactions were completed.

Shelby's customer service courtesies are greatly appreciated.

The Thumbs Column appears in The Sentinel-Record the first and third Wednesday of each month. The newspaper welcomes readers' comments and suggestions, which should be submitted in writing with a name, telephone number and home address for verification and contact purposes. This information is kept confidential.

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