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DEAR ABBY: Thank you for telling your 90 million readers last September about the Midland Community Spirit Award, created to honor annually a community that best represents the American ideal of a community pulling together and helping one another. Also, thank you for joining us at the White House last November to honor the citizens of Sioux City, Iowa, who won the award for their compassionate assistance to the passengers and crew of United Flight 232 after it crashed into an Iowa cornfield.

Among the 88 communities nominated last year were many inspiring stories of community spirit. As one of the judges said, "It was difficult to select a winner, since through their efforts, ALL were winners." For example:- When a building collapsed in Brownsville, Texas, citizens worked shoulder to shoulder for more than 60 hours, relentlessly clearing rubble to find those who died and rescuing trapped survivors.

- When a train derailed near Saco and Glascow, Mont., the citizens of these two small towns graciously fed, clothed and cared for the waylaid passengers.

- When a blizzard halted traffic late one afternoon, members of the Valley View Methodist Church in north Texas walked from car to car inviting hundreds of stranded motorists to spend the night in their church. And townspeople brought whatever they had in their freezers to feed all of them.

- When Colonial Beach, Va., (population 2,500) needed to replace the old school built in 1912, the community raised half a million dollars to build a new school through bingo, bake sales and penny campaigns.

We are now seeking nominations for the Midland Community Spirit Award to be presented in October 1990. We have asked President Bush to make the presentation again at a White House ceremony.

Abby, won't you please ask proud citizens to nominate their communities now? Thank you for your help. - CARROL M. THOMAS, MAYOR, MIDLAND, TEXAS

DEAR MAYOR THOMAS: Here's your letter.

READERS: The deadline for nominations is Sept. 1, 1990. For a nomination form, write to: Midland Community Spirit Award, P.O. Box 1152, Midland, TX 79702-1152, or phone (915) 685-7436. I am sure there are many communities whose citizens rose to the occasion this past year when tragedy struck.


C) 1990 Universal Press Syndicate