Thumbs up to the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce for its annual membership luncheon Friday at the Florence Civic Center. J. Michael Luttig, executive vice president and general counsel of Boeing, delivered an outstanding keynote speech. We all know how fortunate we are that this aerospace giant brought jobs to South Carolina with its Charleston-area plant, and it has attracted suppliers that have brought more jobs. Hearing many interesting details firsthand about the big company was special.

Thumbs up to Grey Raines of Raines Hospitality, who was named the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year on Friday at the membership luncheon. What an excellent choice. Raines runs a business that was started by his father, and that business is thriving in Florence and elsewhere. Hotel Florence helped jumpstart revitalization in downtown Florence. A Hyatt Place is coming to that central business district that now is bustling with activity.

Thumbs up to the United Way of Florence County for holding another successful Day of Caring. The 2016 Day of Caring, held on Sept. 16, was the most record-breaking to date with 426 volunteers from 32 companies completing an incredible 76 projects for local nonprofit agencies, according to John Cariati, 2016-2017 United Way of Florence County campaign chair and operational quality manager for Assurant. “I think the companies in Florence County also deserve a ‘thumbs up’ for using their time and resources to go out in the community and help these agencies,” Cariati said. “Thumbs up to Assurant, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, PGBA LLC, Duke Energy, Nan Ya Plastics and Stifel for sponsoring the Kick-Off Breakfast and making this event possible, and thumbs up to all 32 companies who spent a combined total of more than $65,000 worth of supplies and manpower to complete the projects. Your efforts are much appreciated not only by the agencies, but also by the Florence County community as well.” To view a complete list of all of the participating companies and the projects that were completed, visit uwflorence.org. “Thumbs up United Way and Day of Caring participants,” Cariati said. “Great job, and thank you!

Make that two thumbs up for the United Way of Florence County and the Day of Caring. Ellen Hamilton, the director of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, wrote to praise “the team of hard-working volunteers from GE and Otis that have transformed our sexual assault/family violence crisis center, The Durant Children’s Center, and our Safe Shelter as well as those at the Carolinian and Johnson Controls Battery Division for working on the purple ribbons for October’s domestic violence awareness month. We have newly painted walls, new gutters and clean windows and blinds at Durant, lights in the crisis center rooms along with a new security camera, storm door, picnic table and benches, cleaned-up exterior porches and yard at the Shelter and multiple repairs that were badly needed at all three sites. Thanks so much to all that make this day a success. On behalf of all those we assist in these centers, our appreciation.”

Thumbs down to the domestic violence problem that we continue to have in South Carolina. Hamilton shared the latest report of murder rates, which show that in 2014 South Carolina was ranked No. 5. “Better than No. 1, but we’ve been in the top 5 for at least 16 years,” Hamilton said. Two years ago, 43 females were murdered by males in South Carolina. That’s a rate of 1.73 per 100,000. Only Alaska (3.15), Louisiana (2.15), Nevada (1.98) and Oklahoma (1.94) are worse. The rate is going down in our state, but this is not news to celebrate.

Thumbs up to local stores such as BiLo that are collecting bottles of Gatorade for high school football players. That praise comes from reader Mary Baker. “Practicing in hot weather is exhausting,” Baker wrote, “and the support from the community shown by the many bottles of Gatorade purchased for the players lets them know we appreciate them.” Baker noted that these bottles are at the checkout aisles. “Nevertheless, football is not the only activity in town,” Baker wrote. “Students also spend time in the heat practicing for band, soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball, track and field events, etc. I'm sure these participants would also appreciate a bottle of Gatorade or some other token of appreciation for representing their school.Yes, they can provide their own refreshments, but how exciting it is to receive an unexpected gift!”

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at letters@florencenews.com. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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