Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy, left, congratulates Ken Thomson Monday night after the city resident was honoured by council for his 33 years of volunteer service as chair of the Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corp. and Owen Sound Housing Co. Attending the meeting with Thomson is his wife, Judy Thomson, right.
Ken Thomson was chair of the two boards from 1986 until he stepped down due to health reasons earlier this year. The two organizations now provide affordable housing in four locations in Owen Sound. Denis Langlois/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Post Media Network
Denis Langlois / Denis Langlois/The Sun Times/Post Media Network
Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy honoured Ken Thomson Monday for his more than three decades of volunteer work to increase affordable housing in the community, while also extending a personal thanks to the retired teacher.“Our city annually honours volunteers, youth volunteers and seniors, but sometimes there’s very special people who have made a special contribution in our community that need to be recognized and thanked on behalf of the community. And Ken Thomson is one of those special people,” Boddy said, before presenting Thomson with certificates in recognition of his volunteerism.Thomson served for 32 years as chair of both the Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corp. and Owen Sound Housing Company.The organizations now provide 236 affordable housing units at Bayfield Landing, Ordnance Park, Bluewater Ridge and Odawa Heights in Owen Sound.Thomson is also a former chair of the Grey-Owen Sound Children’s Aid Society board.Boddy, who presented the certificates at the start of this week’s council meeting, also noted that Thomson was a well-respected teacher for many years at West Hill Secondary School.He taught Boddy Grade 12 English and, the mayor said, made a profound impact on his life.“He can be credited with saving at least one misguided student – or student without confidence – by giving him the right encouragement at the right time. That vote of confidence was relied upon many times by the student during challenging times as he grew up, eventually entering university as a mature student, got a bachelor of arts and then a law degree. And, for that, I personally thank him,” said Boddy, who owns a law practice downtown.Thomson has said it was his experience of growing up as a foster child, along with his work as a teacher and chair of the Children’s Aid Society board that provided him with insight into the importance of having safe, accessible, permanent and affordable housing in a community.Boddy said Thomson has dedicated the past 32 years of his life to creating inclusionary housing in Owen Sound.Thomson, who retired as chair of the housing boards earlier this year, said he was “humbled by all of these accolades” presented by the city. “It’s marvellous,” he added.He said as chair of the housing boards, he always followed the philosophy that the organizations would never build anything the members wouldn’t want to live in themselves.Boddy also recognized Thomson’s wife, Judy, who volunteered for about 50 years with the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. She was chair of the gallery’s expansion committee in 1988 and, as a member of the women’s gallery committee, helped to raise money to establish the facility.