Bob Thompson says his life “started” back in 1985 when he was hired to look at a decrepit inner city building to assess what could be done to rehabilitate it. It was with a knock on the door of that old building that he met Bill Brown of St. Mary’s Child Center, which ultimately changed his life forever.
During the inspection, there was one thing that really stuck out to Thompson: the children. “I’d walk past a room and see multiple children in each [one] and ask myself, what was this building being used for? It didn’t make sense that we have a city where basketball players make millions of dollars a year and on the other side, we have a building dedicated to helping children that was falling apart.”
He soon learned the building was used to provide quality services for children with learning and emotional challenges. As he watched the children at play, he had to break some devastating news to Brown: the building was beyond repair. But Thompson couldn’t just walk away – he promised Brown he would use his resources and connections throughout the city to help get a new building for St. Mary’s.
Thompson kept his promise. Along with 32 community leaders, Thompson helped build a 10,000-square foot building that was dedicated to St. Mary’s in 1986. But he didn’t stop there. When this building reached full capacity, Thompson once again called on the community to help. This resulted in the donation of a 15,000-square foot building in 1998, located at Fort Benjamin Harrison.
Thanks to Thompson’s hard work, the St. Mary’s Godparents program was founded, which united St. Mary’s most dedicated volunteers and supporters through a shared vision and mission: to help children.
The 20 children St. Mary’s served back in 1985 has turned into more than 200. Thousands of children have experienced life-changing benefits from their participation at St. Mary’s. To this day, Thompson still drops by St. Mary’s to visit the children and see how things are going.
As a man of faith, Thompson tells everyone that, “If you give back and stay honest, God will take care of the rest. Even if you don’t have that much to give, God will still use it to change the life of someone in need.”