For the first time in history, a husband and wife team was selected as the Statesboro Herald Humanitarians of the Year.
This couple were high school sweethearts and are both Bulloch County natives.
They work quietly in the background, performing good deeds without ever seeking acknowledgement, and most often, without many people even being aware of their generosity.
Many times the recipients of their blessings never know who sent them an envelope filled with cash, a box of food or even a car. Whenever these two see a need, they step forward without asking, without telling and give of their hearts.
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, gifted by these Good Samaritans.
This couple has long been known for their enthusiasm around the holidays, when they decorate their home and surrounding property with lights, Christmas displays and other delightful scenery, inviting the public to come enjoy the sights. 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.
Roy Thompson, one of our Bulloch County Commissioners, 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 "Triple T Ranch" on Old River Road North to people hosting fund raisers, meetings and family gatherings, most often 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.
The Thompsons donate monetarily to such charities as St. Jude, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and American Cancer Society. Last year they offered their property to a local equine rescue group 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. 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.
Roy and Deborah 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, and most deserving of this honor. Roy and Deborah Thompson, are the 2011 Statesboro Herald Humanitarians of the Year.