-- — THUMBS UP: To Robert Soper. For 35 years, he has been the man in charge of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta. He’s overseen the club’s mission change while always helping young people thrive and succeed. In the coming weeks, Soper will retire as the club’s president, though he plans to continue serving the Boys and Girls Club as a consultant through 2013. Thank you for a job well done!
THUMBS UP: To Hugs of Hope. The Second Annual Elizabeth’s Celebration is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. today, Freedom Park, to raise funds and awareness of pediatric cancer in our region. Hugs of Hope is helping more than 21 South Georgia families with a child facing cancer. The celebration also honors the organization’s founder, Elizabeth Pitts. After she was diagnosed with cancer, the youngster started Hugs of Hope by asking people to buy teddy bears for other children with cancer rather than giving her birthday presents. She continued this tradition with each birthday of her short life. Elizabeth Pitts passed away in 2010 but her generosity and kind spirit live on with Hugs of Hope and tonight’s event.
THUMBS UP: To the winners of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 World Class Employee program this week. Lloyd Dumas of ERCO Worldwide received the 2012 Small Business Employee Award. Rachel Tate of Remerton City Hall received the 2012 Small Business Supervisor Award. James Davis of South Georgia Medical Center won the 2012 Large Business Employee Award. Lameika Jones of Wild Adventures earned the 2012 Large Business Supervisor Award. Congratulations one and all!
THUMBS UP: To the region’s farmers and people involved in the agricultural industry. While some may think agriculture is a thing of South Georgia’s past, a Times story revealed this week that Lowndes County’s farmgate has a $70 million value, making it one of the strongest private-sector industries after South Georgia Medical Center. Given the continued financial clout on the economy, we offer a green thumbs up.