Thumbs-up: to a successful MLK Challenge Day, unity service and voluminous other events throughout the county honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. A well-done to those who participated, and a question for all of us: With the great divide that now separates much of our nation, why do we limit such unity to a single day?

Thumbs-up: to the fundraising efforts of the Boone Police Department and everyone who helped make the department’s annual holiday food drive its most successful ever. The effort raised nearly 500 pounds of food and more than $800 in cash — an amount that translates into more than $4,000 (doubled to more than $8,000 with an anonymous donor match) of food buying power for the Hunger and Health Coalition.

Thumbs-up: to a community rallying behind a neighbor in need. A benefit for former long-time county resident and Deep Gap native Luke Short, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in July 2018, was held in the High Country Jan. 26. Now living in Colorado, Luke is an App State grad and former telecommunicator for the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. Luke’s recovery is expected to be lengthy but will be aided by all those who participated in the benefit held at Boone United Methodist Church.

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