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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | January 18, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Thankfully for us Hot Springs denizens, we live in a community that celebrates the strength and generosity of its diverse individuals, businesses, and organizations, and one that pulls together in difficult times.

With those thoughts in mind, we give a big "Thumbs-up" and "Thank you" to the grit and grace of Jessieville residents who continue to recover from an EF1 tornado that seriously damaged parts of its school campus.

Citizens there and in the surrounding areas gave money and time to assist in recovery efforts. Chambers Bank presented a $10,000 check for the district to use as needed and Park Magnet fifth-grader, Paxton Smith, donated $350,40 in cash to Jessieville's third-grade class.

Continued best wishes to Superintendent Melissa Speers, her teachers and staff, and the many volunteers and neighbors who continue to help out in a myriad of ways.

By the same token, we send out our heartfelt thoughts to the friends and family of the late Orval Allbritton and a "Thumbs-up" to his many literary works which showed a true commitment to preserving the history of Hot Springs.

The retired FBI agent and prolific author's writings about the people, places, and events of the Spa City remain an invaluable gift to locals and visitors alike. His books and articles were reader-friendly and revealed his investigative skills and attention to details.

Allbritton was dedicated to the work of the Garland County Historical Society, serving as a tireless volunteer and a three-time board president. This gentlemanly and always affable historian will long be remembered for his contributions to telling the story of this place.

Speaking of history, here's a "Thumbs-up" to the good news that an 8-foot statue of Babe Ruth will be unveiled at the entrance to Majestic Park on the former baseball great's 128th birthday

The statue -- only the world's third bronze figure of Ruth -- will be revealed in a 10:30 a.m., Feb. 6, ceremony at the baseball complex. Chad Fisher of Fischer Sculptures, based in Pennsylvania, is the artisan behind the creative work. Considerable research has gone in to the special project and a miniature clay replica was made to show and confirm the basic look of the finished sculpture.

Many thanks to everyone involved with the Majestic Park Committee headed by Steve Arrison and Mary Zunick and to the many supporters of this statue.

Another "Thumbs-up" goes out to Atira Roberson's persistence in getting a higher education and her giving spirit that speaks to the well-being of young people who may have learning disabilities.

The Hot Springs High School graduate, who was diagnosed with several learning disabilities, including dyslexia, late in her educational process, earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from Henderson State University and is working on her master's degree at an out-of-state university.

She served two years on the board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities' Young Adult Leadership Council and now is a community school site coordinator for Mablevale Elementary.

Thankful to have the opportunity to speak out on learning disabilities and help young Arkansans affected by them, she recently said, "We've done a lot but I think we need to do more because I'm only one voice in one picture of what it looks like."

Personally speaking, here's a "Thumbs-up" to the young man who recently raced past me as I was walking toward the entrance to the main Post Office on Section Line Road. When I reached the door, there he stood, holding it open so I could quickly go inside. I thanked him, told him how nice he was, then noticed his mother nearby. I dropped my mail in the slot and turned to leave when he and she stepped forward and held open the exit door.

I've found that this courtesy happens quite a lot at that site and I feel other recipients of the kindness are equally appreciative. I hope so.

Conversely, here's a "Thumbs-down" to the litterbugs who persist in trashing our highways and byways. Just recently this writer noticed cleanup crews picking up trash from various areas around town and silently said, "Good for them."

Within days, however, more litter -- especially paper cups, food bags, and the like -- appeared near the MLK Expressway and on several other streets I traverse on a regular basis.

As the old saying goes, "Pretty is as pretty does."

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

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