As the Christmas holiday winds down, we would be remiss if we did not once again take note of the many good works and deeds done by groups, individuals and organizations in a genuine effort to reach out to and meet the needs of others within our community.
People prepared hundreds of meals that were either served at facilities or delivered to people's homes, children awoke Christmas morning to toys and clothing that otherwise not even Santa could have provided, outreach organization received necessary donations to fund programs and services they provide throughout the year and much more. And so a heartfelt thumbs up to all of you who did your part to brighten Christmas 2013.

Thumbs down to the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta for its putting a damper on the Christmas holiday. Carolers this year were banned from singing religious Christmas songs, such as "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night" at the veterans facility, apparently in keeping with a policy no one at the center has been able to fully articulate.

Hey, we get it that the facility serves veterans of all faiths and religions, probably even some veterans who are agnostic or atheist. For that reason, there should be an open door to allow all religions to be acknowledged during special holidays. We doubt anyone was forced to listen to the Christmas carolers or even forced to profess being Christian. No one would be forced to turn from Christianity if performers came to the center in celebration of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, either.
Rather than water down the carolers' performances, the center should simply have a more open policy for such occasions and ensure no one is forced to participate. This bizarre policy only cements a concern growing among many, which is "tolerance" has been and continues to be grossly redefined.

Dan Flint gets an end-of-the year thumbs up as he retires from his role as executive director of the Greater Greenwood United Ministry. Flint was director a little more than 12 years and is ready to spend some more time with family. But as further evidence of his faithfulness to the organization's mission, Flint is not completely hanging up his work with GGUM. He will remain active as a member of the nonprofit's governing board and in providing the counseling services he's known to give in a heartfelt effort to help people improve their lives.
A successor will be named in the not-too-distant future, and we are sure the board is eyeing someone with Flint's passion and dedication. It will be difficult not to compare a successor with Flint, but that is understandable as Flint set the bar mighty high.