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A first - Two Humanitarians
A journey of giving, service for the two Thompsons
042611 DEEN DAY AWARDS 01 web
Roy and Deborah Thompson accept the Humanitarian of the Year award during Tuesday's Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards banquet at the Nessmith-Lane Building on the campus of Georgia Southern University.

For the first time in history, a husband and wife team was honored as the Statesboro Herald Humanitarians of the Year during the 2011 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala.
Statesboro’s own Roy and Deborah Thompson, owners of Statesboro Floor Covering, “… were high school sweethearts and are both Bulloch County natives,” said Bruce Yawn, who introduced the couple Tuesday night at the awards banquet. Yawn was the 2010 recipient of the award.
 “These two work quietly in the background, performing good deeds without ever seeking acknowledgement, and most often, without many people even being aware of their generosity,” he said. “They represent the oneness God intended for couples, best friends and soul mates. They enjoy being together, enjoy serving together and it would be the greatest injustice to honor only one of them.”
Often, recipients of their blessings never know who performed the kindness. “Whenever these two see a need, they step forward without asking, without telling, and give of their hearts,” he said.
“Once, a woman at a well-known toy store was in tears when she didn’t have enough money to pay for gifts on layaway for her children. Instead of watching her lose the gifts, this couple paid for everything so her small children could enjoy a wonderful Christmas.
“Another time, a woman living in a local safe shelter found herself the new owner of a car, “he said. “This couple has long been known for their enthusiasm around the holidays, when they decorate their home and surrounding property with lights – many lights.
“In recent years, Roy and Deborah Thompson have encouraged visitors to bring canned goods, to be given to families in need during the holiday season. This past Christmas over 65 families received food for the holidays.”
Roy Thompson, a Bulloch County Commissioner, graduated in 1964 from Statesboro High School and then went on to attend Georgia Southern College, where he obtained a degree in recreation. For over 30 years he volunteered as a coach for the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation, and is a past chairman of its advisory board. He also served on the Ogeechee Hospice board of directors.
Deborah Hagins Thompson graduated from Statesboro High School in 1964 and attended Georgia Southern College. She and Roy have been married 43 years, and have two children and eight grandchildren.
 “They open their ‘Tripe T Ranch’ on Old River Road North to people hosting fund raisers, meetings and family gatherings, at no charge, getting satisfaction from seeing others enjoy things like weddings at the chapel in their old-fashioned Western Town built on the Thompson property,” Yawn said.
The Thompsons donate monetarily to several charities, with a fondness for St. Jude, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and American Cancer Society, he said. “Last year they offered their property to a local equine rescue for a fund raiser, and donated money as well.”
 According to their children, the Thompsons have made a lifetime habit of giving food, clothing, furniture and more to people in this community who show a need, he said.
 “It is not uncommon for them to reach into their pockets and hand cash over to complete strangers, and they always offer sincere and heartfelt prayers for  those in need. They have helped their daughter Jennifer with numerous community children who have lived temporarily in her home, and when you see Santa and Mrs. Claus on North Main Street in December, you’ll know it is the Thompsons who made that possible.
“The epitome of humanitarianism, this couple is truly selfless in their actions,” Yawn said.
Both husband and wife were emotional as they accepted the award. Deborah Thompson’s voice was choked with tears as she spoke.
“This is very humbling for us,” she said. “We are truly blessed to live in the best place in the world. We feel that God has blessed us with this community, with family, with friends.”
Roy Thompson was forced to remain silent for a moment while he gathered his thoughts, overcome with emotion.
After giving thanks for the honor, he spoke to Lonice Barrett, keynote speaker for the evening who praised Statesboro and Bulloch County.
“I’ve probably never heard a more inspiring speech than the one you made about Statesboro and Bulloch County,” he said, comparing Barrett’s speech to one once given by legendary Georgia Southern University coach Erskine “Erk” Russell. “If there is a better place to live … it’s got to be above.”
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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