Relay For Life given $2,500 in her name
By Lori Schneider
Dollar General Store Associate Billie Jo Thompson received a Serving Others award on Aug. 6, at the annual Dollar General Field Leadership Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
As part of the award, she received an all-expense paid trip to Denver to attend the conference, and $2,500 in cash, given in her name, to the New London Relay for Life.
Nominated by New London Dollar Store Manager Anita Barrera, Thompson was one of just seven employees nationwide chosen to receive the service award.
Barrera was aware that Thompson had joined Relay for Life to honor her stepdad, Bob Muskevitsch, who was in his sixth year of fighting cancer. Barrera said seeing Thompson’s passion and drive to make Relay for Life the best it can be, inspired her to nominate Thompson.
“My stepdad’s struggle really got me thinking about all the people who fight to live after they have been diagnosed,” Thompson said. “I really felt the need to do something for all these people. I started researching, and discovered that Relay for Life events donate a big chunk of their fundraising dollars to cancer research, plus they support the local hospital’s cancer chemotherapy unit. I felt that was a perfect fit to where I wanted to focus my energy.”
Thompson is approaching her fifth year as a member of Relay For Life. Forming a new team and acting as team captain, Thompson joined Relay for Life of New London in 2011. Part of Thompson’s personal mission includes attending meetings, trainings, and events to spread the word about Relay For Life and its importance. She stepped into the Event Chair role this year. In addition, she acts as committee chair for sponsorship and promotes community involvement.
Barrera said Thompson comes to work fired up, with new ideas for promoting or including the community in the cancer fighting cause.
“Building new teams is very important to me since the teams bring in new people to our cancer research cause,” Thompson said. “I am always searching for people who share the need to make a difference, to get more teams and more community involvement.”
This year New London Relay for Life members formed 12 teams and raised more than $60,000 to date.
“Our local Relay wouldn’t happen without the great teams we already have. They are already starting their fundraising events for next year. We’ll be at the New London Intermediate School track on June 10 of 2016.”
Those interested in joining Relay for Life can call Thompson at 920-472-9636.
“Of course receiving the service award was great,” Thompson said, “but really I was doing what so many other people do. We keep fighting to help find a cure for cancer. That is the long and short of it. It’s a no-brainer for me.”