Thumbs up ... to Raleigh County Sheriff’s Deputy James E. Williams, named Officer of the Year at the seventh annual Fraternal Order of Police Black Diamond Lodge No. 81 banquet at the Beckley Moose Lodge. Distinguished Service and Community Service awards were also presented. For the first time, tickets were sold with proceeds going to Crime Stoppers.
Thumbs up ... to Mrs. Florida, April Lufriu, crowned Mrs. America recently at The Greenbrier resort. Not only has this event never taken place in West Virginia, but this 35th annual pageant marked the first time that the competition has been held on the East Coast. Lufriu will go on to the Mrs. World competition.
Thumbs up ... to Soul Seekers Ministries for its Smiles for Children fundraiser June 4 at Prosperity Dry Hill Community Center. Proceeds from the bike show, music, food and more will help children with a cleft lip and palate. It only takes $250 and 45 minutes for the corrective procedure.
Thumbs up .. to the Beckley Concert Association’s continuing to provide the area with quality musical experiences. The group will close its season with the Broadway musical “The Music Man” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Woodrow Wilson High School auditorium.
Thumbs up ... to locals continuing fundraising efforts to aid earthquake and tsunami relief efforts for the people of Japan. St. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Oak Hill had a wear red day recently to raise funds while Mountain State University’s culinary arts department had a fudge sale.
Thumbs up ... to the West Virginia Police Canine Handlers Association having its 16th annual seminar in Beckley. Between 50 and 70 teams from as far away as Florida and Alabama came to the area to train and certify. Officers and their dogs worked on tracking, bomb-sniffing, patrolling, narcotic-hunting and other duties.
Thumbs up ... to the recent Hawks Nest Dam Litter Cleanup. The collection resulted in well over 100 bags of garbage weighing 1.39 tons being removed from the site. Volunteers ranging in age from 6 to 81 pulled out plastic bottles, dip cans, Styrofoam, propane fuel cans, shoes, motor oil containers, fishing bobbers and much more.
Thumbs up ... to recognizing not only teachers, but anyone who had a hand in public education — be it a cook, janitor, administrator, bus driver or what have you. The Raleigh County Commission, at the request of the Raleigh County Association of Retired School Personnel, has set aside next week as a special one for all who have toiled in the education system.