THUMBS UP to all who serve or have served in our nation’s armed forces. Without those individuals, we would not be free today.

We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Claude Stokes, who passed away Sept. 29 and was laid to rest Wednesday.

Stokes was one of the last remaining members of the military that fought in World War II.

Stokes, along with his brother, the late Clyde Stokes, served in a tank crew during WWII.

We, as a nation can’t express enough gratitude for those who helped save the world from tyranny.

We recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country.

The opportunity to express your gratitude to a veteran should not be wasted. We are here today, living under the United States flag, because of these individuals.

Tell a veteran thank you while you have the chance.

• • •

THUMBS UP to Oklahoma Project Woman, organizers, volunteers and sponsors who helped conduct the 20th annual McAlester Pink Ribbon luncheon.

The luncheon helps raise awareness of — and funds to fight — breast cancer.

A raffle held during this year’s luncheon raised an additional $1,700-plus.

McAlester Regional Health Center was recognized with the 2019 Franke Rayburn Community Impact Award.

The luncheon included a moving recognition of breast cancer survivors who were in attendance. It was a poignant reminder of why these fundraisers are necessary.

The survivors showed that breast cancer does not confine itself to any particular age or race. There were some women who have survived breast cancer for more than two decades; a few who just finished treatment.

This event proves how much heart is in our community. We’re grateful to all who contributed in any way to make this fundraiser successful.

We know the community will continue to support each who receives a breast cancer diagnosis.

• • •

THUMBS UP to all who contributed to ensuring the water line break this week in McAlester was as uneventful as possible.

City officials and workers were involved since the weekend after water pressure dropped in parts of the city. The first step was in isolating the break. Many people were involved in that search.

Once the break was discovered, city crews worked around the clock to fix the break and keep the impact to residents at a minimum.

The city did a good job keeping residents informed throughout the process.

We are grateful to businesses who curtailed water usage for the duration of the situation.

We are grateful to residents who conserved water, too.

Conservation efforts ensured residents were not completely cut off from water.

It helped to ensure the hospital and firefighters had enough water to do their jobs.

The water line break could have been a bigger deal. City officials and residents working together helped us all get through the incident as easily as possible.

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