Lyme Citizen of the Year
About the Citizen of the Year Award
Every year for the past decade, the Lyme Foundation has recognized its Citizen of the Year as someone who has rendered outstanding service to the Town of Lyme. This annual award is made possible through a gift from Rachel Miller and is presented at Town Meeting in March.
Nominations for Citizen of the Year are gathered between January and early February each year. In 2018, the Lyme Citizen of the Year was awarded to Ellen Thompson
Ellen Thompson (Read at the 2018 Lyme Town Meeting)
When you ask people around Lyme to describe Ellen Thompson, you hear things like, she’s “a rock,” who offers “sage and seasoned advice,” and is “absolutely irreplaceable.” Many in Lyme owe a debt to Ellen that we aren’t even aware of – if you’ve called the FAST squad, been visited by the Parish Nurse, or used the resources of CommunityCare of Lyme, you’ve benefitted from Ellen’s work.
After graduating from Villanova in 1972 with a Bachelor’s in Nursing, Ellen joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (then Mary Hitchcock) as a staff nurse. She grew in roles and responsibilities at DHMC, working in nursing, human resources, and care management, retiring from her role as Clinical Director of the Office of Care Management in 2011. She is published in multiple professional journals, served on numerous DHMC committees, worked on USAID grants for primary care and pregnancy outcomes in Kosovo, and presented at professional conferences around the country. She was a founding member of Lyme’s FAST Squad in the early seventies. Along the way, she received a Master’s in Management from Antioch New England Graduate School.
Retirement from DHMC didn’t mean that Ellen actually retired. She became a board member and eventually board president of the Upper Valley Hostel, where her skills in collaboration helped her steer the Hanover nonprofit through renovations and improvements. She has volunteered in the Sullivan County Dental Initiative for years, working with her cousin Kyle in the Claremont schools.
Most significantly for Lyme, after retirement, Ellen became Lyme’s third Parish Nurse, serving the town and expanding the parish nurse role and program, both in Lyme and around the Upper Valley. She helped found CommunityCare of Lyme, collaborated with Lyme organizations to sponsor educational programs on health and wellness, and supported community nurses around the region. She embraced the idea of aging in place, launching the Aging in Place committee.
The theme of her service to Lyme, repeated by many people, is her dedication to building connection and community. “She gives her all,” one person noted. Another writes, “She listens carefully. She is safe to talk to. She’s so well connected in the Upper Valley that when a resource is needed she know just who/where to call.” And “Always, she works to increase connections among people, encourages neighbors to care for one another, bring[s] out the best in fellow leaders, and, when necessary quietly just get[s] in and solve[s] a problem.”
In case you thought she was all work, she’s not. Ellen and her husband Allen raised three children in Lyme in the house they built on Pico Lane. Ellen is an expert bread baker, a skilled quilter, an intrepid traveler (India and Alaska are notable trips), and is devoted to her family. And, she has an infectious laugh.
Please join us in recognizing Ellen Thompson as Lyme Citizen of the Year.
Former Citizens of the Year
2017 Peggy Little and Paphanh Sithavady
2016 Nancy Elizabeth Grandine
2015 Kenneth Uline
2014 Earl and Beverly Strout
2013 Michael Hinsley
2012 Jean and Mike Smith
2011 Charles Balch
2010 Patty Jenks
2009 Carola Lea
2008 Bill Murphy
2007 Laura DeGoosh
2006 Betty Lee
2004 Fred Phillips
2003 Albert Pushee
2002 Don and Julia Elder
2001 Becky Franklin
2000 Kenneth Elder
1999 Dorcas Chaffee