Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to focusing on those with interesting stories to tell. Edgewood Communities Presents, a series of discussions hosted by Greg Peterson and sponsored by Lutheran and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, will focus on Maria Welker at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Welker will share her life story which includes leaving her hometown during World War II and later coming to America. Speaking of the Community Foundation, nominations for the Axel W. Carlson Unsung Hero Award are due Monday, March 3. The start of a new year means the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2014 Axel W. Carlson “Unsung Hero” Award, an annual honor which honors those who made significant contributions to an organization or project to better their community and who has neither received nor expects recognition or reward. Past recipients include: Lucille Miller, Debbie Long, Josh Briggs, Albert Olmstead, Mary Avery, Nancy Gaden, Kenneth Kilburn, Lorri Huckelbery, Mary Gabalski, John Bauer, Norm Merrill and, most recently, Brenda Cole. Thumbs up to those who actively engage in telling the untold stories of our region.

Thumbs up to all those who gave as part of the United Way’s 2013 Campaign. In total, the campaign raised $1,325,970, exceeding its goal by $11,000. Deke and Deb Kathman, the campaign’s co-chairpersons, used Shel Silverstein’s 1964 children’s book, “The Giving Tree,” as a theme for the campaign, so it was only fitting the book took center stage at this week’s campaign celebration. As various representatives of business, education, industrial and public service sectors were called to receive an award, each recreated the book’s classic cover by placing a section of the eponymous tree onto a posterboard-essentially symbolizing their collective effort in giving back. Campaign Achievement Awards were presented to Jamestown Public Schools, Jamestown Electro-Plating, WCD Boys & Girls Club of Jamestown, Hope’s Windows, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, Chautauqua Institution, United Parcel Service, Phoenix Metal, Nationwide Insurance-Lawson Agency, Northwest Savings Bank. In addition, the Sheldon Foundation received the Loyal Supporter Award and Wegmans received the Friend of United Way Award. The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County helps support 39 programs at 18 partner agencies.

Thumbs up to the Winfred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club’s yearlong series of events to celebrate its 75th anniversary. A football-themed event held recently at the club started the festivities, with members participating in a variety of football activities and receiving a football as a memory of the event. For February members will make “I love my Club” posters to be displayed throughout the club. The Boys and Girls Club – with help from funders like the United Way and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation – has made a difference in the lives of countless children who have turned into vital members of our society. As noteworthy as this 75th birthday is, it is even more impressive that the club has remained such an important and thriving organization in Jamestown.