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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | April 20, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Holocaust victim and diarist Anne Frank wrote, "Give and give again. Keep hoping, keep trying! People who give will never be poor!" (Excerpt from the book, "Beautifully Said: Quotes by Remarkable Women and Girls Designed to Make You Think.")

Our community is known for its generous and visionary givers. Today's digit doings column includes just a few of them.

"Kudos" and "Thumbs-up" to Dr. Jack Porter, leader, and members of The Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Future of the Army and Navy Hospital Executive Committee for their ongoing efforts to find a new tenant or purpose for the historic downtown property.

Serious concerns about destructive intruders, fire hazards, and contamination of thermal waters remain. But, Porter and the committee members are resilient in their determination to give the Mission/Spanish-style building new life.

Many thanks to everyone involved in this important revitalization program.

By the same token, here's another "Bravo" and "Thumbs-up" to child advocate Serene Garcia, who recently was honored as Superhero by the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center.

Garcia received the Patrick McCruden Superhero Award at the center's annual Child Abuse Awareness rally held to highlight Child Abuse Awareness Month. The award recognizes one of the center's MultiDisciplinary Team members "who has gone above and beyond for the work they do for children."

CAMCAC is one of 14 advocacy centers in the state and the only hospital-based child advocacy center in Arkansas.

We also send out our "Congratulations" and "Thumbs-up" to Linda William Palmer, recent recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Arts Council, a division of Arkansas Heritage. A painter, colored-pencil artist, and former Hot Springs gallery owner, Palmer still receives plaudits for her ambitious exhibit and book projects depicting Arkansas' Champion Trees.

And she remains a faithful mentor and advocate for artists in the Garland County area and throughout the state.

Staying on the positive side, a well-deserved "Thumbs-up" to the Forestry Division of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture for recently installing an addition to the Abilities Unlimited Inc.'s community garden on Mountain Pine Road. The garden expansion will assist in teaching students more about food production and the importance of teamwork.

A center-based education and training program that serves individuals with disabilities, Abilities Unlimited prepares high school students for job opportunities via its Pathways to Employment courses. Abilities Unlimited also provides employment for disabled adults at its factory. Tammey Noles, a Pathways to Employment instructor, says the garden teaches students "discipline, patience, and getting in there and seeing the fruits of their labors."

Additional words of appreciation are found in the following text of a weekend email sent in to this columnist. The Hot Springs resident wrote, "Three Lake Hamilton Wolves -- with more than five decades of connections to that school district between them -- give three "Thumbs-up" to the Lakeside Rams for their efficient and enthusiastic hosting of the Special Olympics Track and Field meets over the past two weeks.

"This was Lakeside's first time to host the event and the Rams were well organized and had plenty of volunteers from their track teams, Partners Club, and other organizations. The events ran smoothly, a good time was had by all, and everyone looks forward to returning next Spring."

And finally, another local denizen wants to express her gratitude and award a "Thumbs-up" for honesty and the kindness of strangers.

In an email, she wrote, "Last weekend, a friend could not find his wallet and worried that it might be lost for good. He and his friends searched for it during that time but to no avail.

"On Sunday, he returned to the place where he had purchased gasoline on Friday and it was there with all the contents intact. The staff of the Pic-N-Tote Store on Highway 71 north and the patron who turned the wallet in certainly restored his faith in humanity."

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 home telephone number and home address for verification and contact purposes. This information is kept confidential.

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