Thompson lends a helpful hand

Published 9:03 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

Steve Thompson has lived in the Heart of Virginia for all but one of his 61 years thus far, and with his character and his skills, he has made a significantly positive impact on the area during that time.

He currently helps Meherrin Volunteer Fire & Rescue in a limited capacity from time to time, but he has a long history of public service in this field.

“I’ve been involved with fire and rescue for nigh on 40 years,” he said.

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It started when he spent a few years with the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department. Later, he moved to the Farmville Volunteer Fire Department and ended up joining the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad.

This work kept him quite busy at times.

“One year, all volunteer, I went on a hundred and some calls with the Farmville Fire Department, the same year 300 some calls with the Prince Edward Rescue Squad,” he said.

He later became the inaugural chief of Randolph District Volunteer Fire Department.

“I was involved in the building of the place, and running all over the state and actually went up into Tennessee picking up donated stuff that other departments had donated to help us get up and running,” he said.

Thompson’s parents have been strong influences in his life. He noted that his mother “was the first woman on Prince Edward Rescue Squad. I think she’s the one that got me more or less interested in the volunteer rescue squad.”

His father was heavily involved in construction, and Thompson followed in his footsteps, serving as a self-employed contractor for 18 years.

“I built a lot of additions and garages,” he said. “I built a house for my dad over on the edge of Buckingham. But houses, I’ve built, like, four new houses.”

Thompson, who now lives in Meherrin, has moved several times, but in most instances, these moves have not been across long distances.

“I was born and raised about six miles out of Farmville right in Cumberland County, right in the neighborhood where I just moved from there to here,” he said. “… And then I bought a house in Prospect when I married my first wife, and we lived up there for a few years. Then I got the old home house back in Cumberland and moved back down there.”

He later rented an apartment in Richmond.

“After a month I was ready to come back, but I had a year’s lease,” he said. “And then a while after that, the old home house burnt down, and I built a new house there right out in the front yard, really, where the old house was and lived there for roughly 10 years. Then I built a new house over there on Lewis Road about a quarter mile down the road and lived there for roughly 10 years. And this spring we built a new house over here in Prince Edward, Meherrin.”

He and his wife, Rebecca, reside there and are enjoying its proximity to family and their church. They also enjoy their new home’s peaceful, rural setting.

“Every once and a while, we can hear a train or a big truck out on the highway somewhere, but we don’t hear a whole lot back here,” he said. “It’s just I love it here.”

In his free time, Thompson has enjoyed both peaceful and exciting pursuits.

Previously, he participated in enduro racing, which is an inexpensive type of automobile racing. He would prepare a car and often compete at Southside Speedway in Midlothian.

Thompson also likes to fish, even if the fish aren’t biting.

“I fish some (at) Buggs Island, some down on the James River down below Richmond,” he said. “Every once in a while, I like to go to Lake Cherokee, Tennessee, Smith Mountain every once in a while — just most anywhere I can go fishing.”

Fishing can be an opportunity for solitude for Thompson or quality time with others. He said he’ll fish alone sometimes, sleeping on his boat for two or three days, while other times he’ll fish with friends, his wife or a granddaughter who enjoys the activity as well.

Asked to choose three words to describe himself, Thompson thought about it for a second.

“I’ve had a hard time passing up anybody that needed something that I could help with,” he said, which Rebecca, sitting nearby, summarized into “helpful.”

Steve then added the words hard-headed and opinionated to the list.

Asked to list the best decision he has ever made in his life, he said, “My wife.”

Rebecca said, “And then what if I weren’t sitting here?”

He quickly replied, “It would still be you. It took me … 43 years to actually find the right woman.”

They celebrated 17 years together in December.