After nearly 40 years of service, the last active charter member of the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre (NORMHC) will be stepping down from the board of directors.
The staff of the NORMHC honoured Eileen Thompson on Dec. 4.
“Eileen is the epitome of hard work, volunteerism and community spirit,” said Cody Cacciotti, president of the railroad museum board. “There is no Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre without Eileen Thompson. She has been so integral to the growth of the organization, and she will be forever synonymous with the success of NORMHC.”
Thompson has called the community of Capreol home for more than 60 years. Her husband, Roy Thompson, was a conductor for the Canadian National Railway, the museum said in a news release.
Thompson became involved with the Capreol Heritage Committee back in the early 1980s, helping collect historical artefacts, documents and newspaper clippings related to the railway and the history of the Town of Capreol.
That committee would eventually be formalized as the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre (NORMHC), which was incorporated in 1993, and Thompson has served on the board ever since.
“The museum has continued to grow exponentially over its 29 years of operation. It has established itself as one of the largest visitor destinations in Northern Ontario and has been recognized at the provincial and national levels for its dedication to heritage preservation,” the museum said. “Eileen has always had an active hand in that growth dedicating countless hours to researching exhibits, repairing artifacts, setting up displays, hosting special events and fundraisers as well as tending to the incredible gardens in Prescott Park.”
During the Dec. 4 celebration held in honour of Thompson’s contributions, Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas and Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée were on hand to honour her.
“I want to thank everyone for an amazing experience here at the museum,” Thompson said in the news release. “This place has truly been my second home. I’ll still find ways to volunteer, but I’d like to give someone else the opportunity to serve on the board and help grow the organization.”