Noticeably missing at the Community Affairs Dinner hosted by the Community Roundtable at the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association on Feb. 20 was longtime community advocate and volunteer Betty Jo Tompkins, who never misses the annual event.
This year, because she is recuperating from a medical condition, Tompkins had to sit out. But she wasn't out of mind.
Tompkins at the dinner was named the newest recipient of the Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award.
"Hallelujah, she's a great gal," said Dick Stowers, who received the award in 1976, the second year it was given. The first recipient, the year before, was Patricia B. Odiorne.
"It was well overdue," said Mark Proctor, who received the award in 1989, after the award was announced. "I just talked to her on the telephone. I said, 'Hear that clapping? It's for you.' "
Indeed, the applause was loud, after last year's recipient, Tammy Holmberg, announced Tompkins as the newest Alice B. Tompkins award.
"I knew Alice B. Tompkins personally and she was a person who was always committed to the Brandon community. She was a real humble type," Tompkins said, in a phone interview held at the conclusion of the dinner. "She was a person who was never self-serving for recognition or honor. I admired her a lot and it is very, very nice to receive this recognition."
Tompkins said she was "humbled" by her award, "I really was."
"It's not for me, it's for my family," she added, as she choked up in posthumous memory of both her husband and her son. "It's for all the efforts they put forth in striving to see the best for the community."
The Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award celebrates "those men and women who have made a major difference in the Greater Brandon area though the commitment of their time and talent, making our community a better place to live." The award is given annually by one of Brandon's oldest civic and charitable organizations, the Roundtable Charities of Greater Brandon, more commonly known as the Community Roundtable and formerly known as the Presidents' Roundtable.
Each year, the prior Alice B. Tompkins award winners are asked to name the newest member of their ranks from a list of nominations accepted by the Roundtable from the public. The award is named posthumously for Tompkins, a tireless community news editor who worked for the Brandon News.
Holmberg said the Tompkins choice was well-selected.
"Betty Jo has the heart of a servant," said Holmberg, who also is a past honorary mayor of Brandon. "Whenever it comes to children in the community, she's there for them. I've been her for 15 years and ever since I've known her she's been doing good things in the community."
The plaque honoring Alice B. Tompkins Community Award recipients hangs on the second floor of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce building.
- See Alice B. Tompkins Award Recipients