Since the club's inaugural season in 1999, the Altoona Curve have been an outstanding community partner.
The team added to its strong reputation earlier this month when it unveiled a statue outside Peoples Natural Gas Field called "Children of Pennsylvania's Fallen Warriors."
The shrine, an idea of Curve Chief Operating Officer Dave Lozinak, recognizes the sacrifices made by local families of soldiers who paid the ultimate price and depicts a boy and a girl, flag in hand, climbing to the top of a hill.
Sgt. Joseph K. Hughes, a recruiter with the Pennsylvania National Guard, led an effort that raised $15,000 in donations from local businesses and individuals to pay for the project.
Six-year-old Mason Hook helped unveil the statue. Mason was born just three weeks after his father, Army Spc. Michael A. Hook, was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq. Several families who have lost sons in battle were represented.
Thumbs-up to the Curve on this most worthy gesture.
Others deserving of thumbs-up, thumbs-down mention:
Thumbs-down to former Bedford County Prison guard Ryan Clapper, who was found guilty and sentenced to 45 days in jail for placing frozen shackles on an inmate. Clapper was cited for harassment after a female inmate claimed he had placed a frigid pair of handcuffs on her wrists. The inmate, who has since been released, said Clapper placed the cuffs in a jail freezer for an hour to punish her for prior complaints about cold shackles. Guards are supposed to protect - not harass - the inmates. Maybe Clapper should spend part of his sentence in the prison freezer.
Thumbs-up to the Pennsylvania State Police for recently honoring three local state troopers - Timothy Strohmeyer and David Nazaruk and Cpl. Kevin Campbell - for their efforts during a Dec. 21 shooting rampage in Geeseytown that left four dead and all three troopers injured. Strohmeyer received the department's Medal of Honor, its highest award, as well as a Purple Heart and Trooper of the Year awards for his efforts in stopping Jeffrey Lee Michael of Hollidaysburg, who fatally shot three people and fired at the troopers who eventually shot and killed Michael. State police also recognized police communications operator Justin Butterworth. Thumbs-up, of course, to the troopers and Butterworth.
Thumbs-down to Rolling Stone magazine on the choice of its upcoming cover story and photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the alleged architects of the Boston Marathon bombings - and kudos to several Boston area retailers refusing to sell the publication. We obviously get the concept of profiling someone so controversial, but the idea of attempting to capitalize on the misfortune of so many rings hollow.
Thumbs-up to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have one of the best records in Major League Baseball. Here's hoping they can end two decades of frustration with a strong second half of the season, which starts tonight, and gain their first playoff berth since 1992.