• By Raegen Luntz
  • Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Meet Lester Thompson - Security Officer, Leader, and Volunteer.

At the close of Black History Month, we'd like to take a moment to recognize Security Officer Lester Thompson and his exceptional service he's provided not only at the Walkertown Branch Library but also throughout Forsyth County.

Mr. Thompson, originally from the Happy Hills area, moved to the Carver School Road area in his early teens. His quiet demeanor and perseverance was a force to be reckoned with on the football field. Mr. Thompson, both an offensive and defensive guard, was player of the week on multiple occasions, and made Carver High School history by leading his team to the first Western Championship Title in 1956. Lester continued to play football after high school at St. Augustine College in Raleigh, NC. He later settled in Winston-Salem with his wife Yvonne and two children, Karen and Kelvin (deceased). Lester went on to retire twice from RJR Packing. He was asked to come back to RJR Packing after his first retirement to supervise and train new employees. Nine years later, he officially retired again after a total of forty-five years of service.

"I do not do things to be seen or heard...I do things because I want to help," stated Mr. Thompson. Lester has had a tremendous impact in our community because of his desire to serve others. In 1968, Winston-Salem Mayor M.C. Beaton appointed Lester to the first Urban Coalition. The Urban Coalition was a twenty-five member group made up of various community leaders tasked with developing policies to address racial inequalities, housing, unemployment, recreation, healthcare and education. Within the Coalition, Lester was appointed to the 8-member Executive Committee, where he made recommendations for public recreation centers and housing. Lester stated that he was, "honored to be part of the coalition and to serve in the capacity to help others help themselves."

After serving two years on the Urban Coalition, Lester was then appointed to the Winston-Salem Coalition where he served on the Board of Directors for the Experiment for Self Reliance (ESR), the ESR Finance Committee and was an appointed representative for the Concentrated Employment Program (CEP). ESR and CEP were programs designed to provide education and enhance employment to improve the community. In addition to these appointments, Lester served on the Recreation Task Force, which focused on improving recreational facilities and the recruitment/hiring of African Americans in supervisory positions. After almost fifty years, the impact of Lester's service is still visible today.

Lester was also a devoted father and eager to assist his children and others in the community. He volunteered at his children's schools in various capacities from substitute teacher to PTA Treasurer. In 1969, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent, Marvin Ward, commended Lester for his dedication to volunteer service. Mr. Thompson has always placed a high value on education and encouraged his children to reach for the stars. His daughter, Dr. Karen Williams, was recently appointed as the new Director of Health at Hampton University in Virginia.

Today, Lester continues to serve in his community and church. He has been a member of the of the Goodwill Baptist Church in the Arcadia area for the past seventy-six years and serves as a Trustee and Deacon. He has provided over various choirs, ministries and projects at Goodwill Baptist. Lester can also be found at the Walkertown Branch Library providing valued security. He has been stationed at this branch for the past three years and we look forward to many more years with Lester.

On behalf of the Walkertown Branch Library and the surrounding communities, we would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Thompson for his many years of public service. Please stop by our library and meet our exceptional Lester Thompson.

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