By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
Roxanne Thompson, the recently retired publisher of the Claresholm Local Press and a long-time community volunteer and advocate, is Claresholm’s 2021 citizen of the year.
The award was presented at the Claresholm Volunteer Appreciation on April 26 at the Claresholm Community Centre by Claresholm Mayor Chelsae Petrovic, in her role as last year’s citizen of the year, who read the nomination.
“For more than 35 years, Roxanne Thompson has been a leader in industry, business, and her community, leaving a deep mark on the place she calls home. This commitment makes her an ideal candidate for the Citizen of the Year Award,” Petrovic read.
Her community involvement spans the very public to the very private.
She served on the board of the Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce for more than a decade, including terms as director, vice-president, president, and past president. In her time with the chamber she spearheaded initiatives such as the creation of Ringrose Park, a beautiful pocket park in the downtown core; and the annual Mexican Fiesta, held on the longest day of the year every June. She also organized and helped out with
numerous trade fairs, the hanging flower basket program for downtown beautification; membership renewal; chamber coins; murals and mural prints; business awards; and much more.
She was also instrumental in bringing back the annual Claresholm and District Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year awards, organizing sponsorship, soliciting nominations; and coordinating the selection process.
Through her role as publisher of the Claresholm Local Press, she has been a supporter of the Claresholm Food Bank. The office of the Local Press acts as a year-round drop-off point for food bank donations. During Claresholm’s annual Fair Days parade in August, the Local Press has hosted a “food drive on wheels” for over 12 years, where food bank donations are picked up by volunteers pushing shopping carts.
At Christmas time, Thompson has coordinated applications and donations for the Christmas Hamper program for more than 25 years, helping those in need. On average, 110 families a year have benefitted from the program.
Thompson organized Old Fashioned Christmas for 17 years. This event kicks off the shopping season with late-night shopping; horse-drawn wagon rides; music; carollers walking around the downtown; the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree; and beef on a bun, which is a fundraiser for the food bank.
Moonlight Madness was another late-night shopping event Roxanne organized in February for more than 15 years, encouraging people to shop local and support local businesses.
Back in 2003, Roxanne joined the Claresholm History Book Committee as treasurer. Since then, she has committed the newspaper’s resources, in advertising and editorial space and staff time, to sell books to pay off this loan.
Another fundraising event she organized is a Zombie Walk held in the fall, with all proceeds going to KidSport Claresholm.
Privately, Roxanne helped to create the Claresholm Charity Fund, assisting families in need with everything from medical expenses to fire relief. Through the fund she has also supported the school breakfast program and major community fundraisers; and this is what funds the Christmas Hamper Program.
She has committed countless hours to the Claresholm Curling Club, and been involved in bantam football and rodeo as well.
Recently Thompson became part of the Claresholm and District Health Foundation board.
As a member of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, she was elected to the board in 2007 and served until 2011. She also chaired several committees.
In her community, she has been a tireless advocate for newspapers and the vital role they play, opening the doors of the Local Press to school tours and having staff make presentations to school classes, 4-H clubs, and other organizations.
“When you weave everything together, you get a vivid picture of Roxanne Thompson’s commitment to her industry and her community,” Petrovic concluded.
By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer