Fairfax County supervisors on July 27 honored former Greater Merrifield Business Association (GMBA) president Billy Thompson for his decades of community service.
Thompson joined GMBA in 1995 and served as its president for seven years. Supervisors credited him with providing support and mentorship to many business owners in Merrifield and Fairfax.
Thompson also has advocated for area initiatives undertaken by Inova Health System, Fairview Park and Fairfax Water, said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence), who read the honorary resolution.
His service to the community began with his 1962 student presidency at Marshall Road Elementary School and continued with his efforts with the Virginia Small Business Association’s advisory board, Palchik said. Thompson also did stints as chairman of the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and president of the Vienna Rotary Club, she added.
In addition, Thompson has served as a Be-a-Friend Program Inc. mentor, co-chaired the Fairfax County Homeless Shelter’s children’s Christmas party for more than a decade (even dressing up as Santa on occasion) and coached Little League, Babe Ruth League and James Madison High School girls’ softball teams.
Thompson “brings endless optimism . . . . and a cheerful smile to everything he is involved with,” Palchik said.
Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill) thanked Thompson for his service on the Tysons Task Force.
“Your dedication to the community has had a lasting impact in many ways,” Alcorn said.
Thompson, who moved to the Vienna area 62 years ago, thanked his wife for her support and touched his arms and face to send “steal” signals to athletes he had coached.
He noted how he had attended segregated schools in a time before Tysons Corner, Mosaic District, Reston Town Center and Interstates 66 and 495 had been built.
“For me, it looks like a tremendous amount of changes,” he said. “I know for some people it’s not fast enough, but when I look back, it’s just an incredible amount of change.”
Thompson noted that his parents also had served in community-leadership roles and instilled in him the need to get involved. He networked heavily after entering the business world, which put him in contact with the world of non-profit groups.
“You witness so many things that you just didn’t even realize,” he said. “It reaches your heart and it makes you want to see what small part you can do to help.”
Thompson said his next effort will be to help foster children in the post-pandemic world.
“That’s one of the most forgotten groups that we have,” he said.