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By Michelle Wagaman, Prevention Services Coordinator

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the career of Sherry Thompson. Sherry wore several hats during her almost 15 years at the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. Most recently, that was the hat of Prevention Specialist. As we gathered to wish her well in her next adventure, we estimated that she’s impacted more than 3,000 youth and families through direct work in the classroom, afterschool programs, and family strengthening courses. On top of that, Sherry was one of our very first Mental Health First Aid Instructors. Since 2014, she’s held 37 trainings for nearly 600 community members. 

With an infectious laugh, a strong and dependable work ethic, and genuine concern for others, Sherry has been sincerely missed around the office.

Badges of Honor

In recognition of her career, her fellow Prevention Specialists Jennifer Bateman and Sherry Norton-Williams created some special “badges” for Sherry to wear in retirement:

Bear Poker Badge: Experts tell you to stay very still and to back away slowly when confronted by a bear.  Not Sherry Thompson, she tackles each new task with exuberance and good humor.  She ask the hard questions and is always willing to fight for the rights of the underserved, especially the children.  For this we award you the “Bear Poker Badge.”

Post-It Princess Badge: Post-Its were invented in 1968 to help the world remember random thoughts, ideas, and passing sentiments.  Sherry Thompson however has a love/hate relationship with the post-it. She will often turn to her office mates, hold up a random post-it with a hastily scrawled word, phrase or phone number and ask, “What does this mean?”  Our answer is always, “I have no idea.”  For this we award you the “Post-It Princess Badge.”

Two-Year Yofie Award Badge: When I first arrived in Prevention I was told about a wonderful event known as “Youth First.”  I was told that we were to fashion a booth display and that this display was to be voted on.  For many years our booth did not win.  Finally, our booth won not once but two years in a row!  Sherry Thompson then looked at me and said, “I think I can retire now.”  For this you have earned the “Two-Year Yofie Winner Badge.”

Bang Head Here Badge: In her Second Step lessons, Ms. Sherry teaches all of her kiddos to belly breath, blow out their birthday candles and to count to 10 to handle all of their big emotions.  However life at the office is another thing all together.  This is why you are being awarded the “Bang Head Here Badge.”  This badge is for when you can’t remember your computer password, for when your computer is updating, for when your computer has the blue screen of death…basically whenever you have to deal with your computer. 

Green Thumb Badge: In our hallway, as you get off of the elevator, there is a beautiful rubber plant tree.  This tree is as beautiful as it is due to the love and care of Sherry Thompson.  She truly does have a green thumb.  If you have a question about plants or gardening, she is the woman to talk to.  She shares bits and pieces of her garden just as she shares pieces of her heart.  Willingly and openly.  For this we give you the “Green Thumb Badge.”

Sherry Thompson (center) talks prevention with Dr. Willhide, a Fredericksburg area dentist.

Road Warrior Badge: Over 500 miles driven in the pursuit of tobacco merchant education, countless miles driven to facilitate parenting and children’s programs.  Numerous hours spent in the car with her co-workers laughing, commiserating, and crying over life in general.   Sherry Thompson has definitely earned the “Road Warrior Badge.”

14+ Years Other Duties As Assigned Overachiever Badge: In the world of Prevention, we have to wear many different hats.  We play many different roles and we perform many “other duties as assigned.”  Sherry Thompson never shirks from these duties but always rises to the challenge with grace and an indomitable spirit.  Like the proverbial ruby she is multifaceted and shines with an inner light and fire.  For this you have more than earned the “14+ Years Other Duties As Assigned Overachiever Badge.”

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