Thumbs thumbsthumbsthumbs THUMBS

Melissa Stagnaro

Want to get the unadulterated opinions of the Evening Sun’s intrepid reporting staff on the week’s stories? Look no further than Friday’s page 4, under the heading, “Thumbs.” Thus called because each reporter gives their thumbs up and/or thumbs down to topics of the week.

Thumbs are something you either love, or you hate. Our readers love them – even when they disagree with the expressed opinion. In those instances, they often LOVE to take us to task on what they feel are our mis-guided notions on the topic of the day.

We reporters, however, hate them. Why, I’m not really sure. On the surface, you’d think we’d relish the chance to share our opinions on the topics we strive hard to be unbiased on in our news stories for the sake of journalistic integrity. The only other opportunities we have for this are in our columns and blogs. Well, that and our Facebook gripes, but that’s hardly “official.”

Maybe it’s that by Thursday, when we are called upon to write these pithy little pieces we’ve already put the topics out of our minds. Or perhaps that this forum, more than any other, seems to draw the wrath of those who don’t agree with our opinion. (Although I have to admit it’s funny when people call 30 seconds to complain they can’t figure out the identity of who wrote what “Thumbs” segment. I mean, seriously, is it that difficult to figure out who MS is?)

For whatever the reason, my co-workers and I struggle to write our Thumbs each week. Much to our esteemed editor’s chagrin, I might add. He can’t seem to comprehend why we – who profess to love writing and in fact do it daily – have such a hard time coming up with two paragraphs on subjects which we are already well versed.

Yet, without fail, the looming deadline finds at least some of us hemming, hawing, hunting and, yes, even sometimes negotiating for something to write about. Which is why we collectively heaved a sigh of relief today when Jeff informed us we wouldn’t be required to fulfill this portion of our job description – for the second week in a row.

The only problem? I’d actually already gotten a head start on the task. And I had a really good Thumbs Up, too. So I thought I’d share.

On Wednesday, I had the chance to watched members of the Central New York chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart honor Vet’s Home resident William Barden with lifetime membership in their organization. It was more than touching, particularly since Barden was so thrilled to finally become a part of this organization. “You dream about these things for years, and don’t expect them to ever happen,” he said, commenting that it felt like Christmas. How could that not put a smile on your face?

So my Thumbs up goes to Vet’s Home Activities Director Allan Hopson for helping to “connect the dots” and Nelson Fox, Joe Fraccola and Vincent Egresits of the MOPH CNY Chapter 490 for making this man’s dream a reality. He and all those who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve more than just recognition. They deserve more than just a simple “Thumbs Up.”

They deserve our undying gratitude.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.