The invitation to the black-tie dinner read, “The Cambria Heights Civic Association cordially invites you to our Presidential Ball honoring presidents — past and present — Morris Lee, executive administrator airport opportunities; Dennis Wa
Through the years, at one community function or another, I have met all of the above gentlemen. Each of them has contributed positively to Cambria Heights, southeast Queens and the wider community. We congratulate all of them and thank them for their hard work. We wish them continued success and good health throughout their future activities.
As Jack Thompson steps down from the position of president of the Cambria Heights Civic Association, and Kevin Jemmott takes over, we wish him well, too. Thompson, who served as president of the association from 1993 to June 2004 will be a hard act to follow.
Since I have had the opportunity to work on some community projects with Thompson and can attest to his willingness to be helpful and his trying to improve conditions, it is he who will be the focus of this column.
Jack and Hortense Thompson have been married for 32 years. They have two children, Robyn and Michael, and two grandchildren, Tanya and Christopher. The marriage has been a wonderfully happy one. He is very proud of his family, and rightfully so. Being so involved in educational efforts himself, I’m sure he was persistent about his family hitting the books and pursuing their avenues of interest to the fullest extent.
As I remember, our first meeting was at his home, where another friend, Richard Douglass, also from Cambria Heights, took me to participate with police from the 105th Precinct in enlisting neighbors in NYPD programs to protect their vehicles.
In those days crime was even more rampant than it is now. We tried many different ways to help our officers, and all agreed that keeping the community neat, clean and beautiful — the way every community should be — were necessary to help defeat crime.
Thompson told me some time later that his community had made an investment in a beautiful Japanese maple tree to enhance the area in front of the Cambria Heights Post Office on Linden Boulevard. It was barely in the ground when it was stolen. At that time it was not uncommon for plants to get stolen in Laurelton. Thompson was disgusted, but the tree was replaced.
Unfortunately, that plant, too, was stolen, this time not to be replaced. The incident remains to this day a topic of heartache to Thompson, the community and those of us who keep trying to correct things that are wrong and appreciate things that are right.
Thompson is the longest-serving member of the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council. He has spoken at and helped arrange many of the ceremonies dedicating special stamps for Black History months through the years, and he has hosted Town Hall meetings. He is also an active member of other advisory boards including the Human Resources Administration, Universal Pre-K, Verizon and Jamaica Hospital.
He is an honorary member of the Cambria Heights Kiwanis Club and was one of the founders of the Southeast Queens Community Partnership. As a lobbyist, he has fought in Albany for equal education funding for children and better health care for everyone.
Thompson has been the recipient of many awards, including the HAUP Community Service Award, the Real Action Program Award, the Eastern Alliance Community Service Award, Man of the Year Award, American Heart Association Certificate of Appreciation and the Queens Borough Student Association Club Award. He not only quotes the golden rule, he always tries to live it. We wish him the very best.