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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | September 21, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Eleanor Roosevelt, humanitarian and America's longest-serving first lady, once said: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." (Excerpt from "Beautifully Said: Quotes by Remarkable Women and Girls Designed to Make You Think." )

Such is the human nature of the Hot Springs community where residents of all ages and backgrounds take on a myriad of challenges to improve the lots of others.

On that note, we begin today's digit doings column with a "Thumbs-up" to Kim Carter, executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic, to address the needs of the ALICE population whose members are "Asset Listed, Income Constrained, Employed."

Carter and CCMC, along with other local nonprofits, have worked with landlords and utility companies to help the "working poor" cope with a Hot Springs housing shortage made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. She and the CCMC staff have likewise developed new training via its "Bridges Out of Poverty" program aimed at moving people from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Our thanks to Carter and CCMC for playing a leadership role in focusing attention on the ALICE demographic and trying to find workable solutions that improve the lifestyle for so many who are struggling.

Another "Thumbs-up" goes to the ever civic-minded Hot Springs Elks Lodge 380, which recently combined the organization's' annual family picnic event with an opportunity to impart information about drug awareness.

Lodge officers and picnic arrangers handed out brochures, balloons, and coloring books to about 150 members and children and also gave special recognition to Hot Springs Fire Department personnel and the Hot Springs Police Department SWAT Team.

Elroy the Drug Awareness Elk was on hand to greet guests and was especially popular with the young attendees.

Meanwhile, we move on to the health front and give a "Thumbs-up" to National Park Medical Center's recent hiring of two certified and hospital-practiced midwives for its medical staff.

As Scott Smith, CEO, recently said via news release, "Their experience and specialty is a great addition to our OB-GYN service and we are excited about the option they add for women's healthcare in our community."

The licensed midwives -- Renee Yeager, a Hot Springs native, and Shalyn Calaway -- are the first of their kind in Hot Springs and specialize in low-risk pregnancies and births while working with OB-GYNs if any complications arise.

We appreciate these women's education and experience in the medical field and wish them all the best.

And without question, our "Thumbs-up" and "Congratulations" go out to the 10 Garland County students who have been named 2023 National Merit Scholarship Competition semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The semifinalists are Eliana M. Adamos, Robert F. Boerwinkle, Mason H. Cooper, Savanna L. Duey, Cecil Mitchell, and Charis Xiong from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Tristan C. Wendel from Fountain Lake High School; home-schooled student Sophie A. Wright; Benjamin L. Hollis from Lakeside High School; and Austin C. Barnes from Lake Hamilton High School.

The Garland County honorees are among 16,000 semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program and now have an opportunity to compete next spring for some 7,250 scholarships worth almost $28 million.

And, finally, spare me if you will this personal privilege of sharing a tale about a flat tire and the pleasure of awarding several "Thumbs-up" to the persons who came to my rescue.

After my car's right front tire "pancaked" in my condominium parking lot, a good neighbor, Tracy Wisdom, who witnessed the unfortunate happening, quickly stepped up to see if he could remove said tire and put on the spare. He worked diligently in the hot sun for almost an hour, managing to remove all of the lug nuts save one, which simply would not budge. His wife, Lisa, offered me a seat in her auto and we discussed several options. Ultimately, Tracy called Holcomb's Transport and Recovery Service whose driver even tried to remove the lug nut, but to no avail.

Lisa drove me to Arkansas Tire Co., whose owner, Rick Gilliam, discussed arrangements for a loaner tire, for ordering a new one, and how his crew would proceed. He was cordial and informative. The Wisdoms made sure I knew they were available should I need further help.

The frustrations associated with this experience were ameliorated by the kindnesses and professionalism of all of the above individuals.

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

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