Fred Palmer, a Thompson resident for more than 50 years whose volunteer service included decades as a shooting coach and serving as president of the Thompson Wildlife Association, became the 11th person inducted into the Order of Thompson at the Thompson Community Foundation’s fall gala Sept. 14 at Riverlodge Place.
Palmer, who first came to Thompson in 1967, was born in Saskatchewan in 1949 and worked in construction in Moose Jaw before a lack of work led him northeast.
“He decided to come to Thompson and work for Inco because he didn’t want to give up his 1967 Plymouth Fury chick magnet,” said Kevin White while giving Palmer’s biography.
Palmer worked for eight years in Inco’s mechanical maintenance department before starting a car dealership and then becoming a sales agent with Mutual Life of Canada in 1980. He obtained his private pilot’s licence in 1972 and was Thompson’s only hunter safety instructor from 1972 to 1976.
“The community service he enjoyed most was as Thompson Junior Rifle Club coach for 31 years helping to develop many marksmen and winning teams,” said White.
Palmer was also the recipient of the City of Thompson’s volunteer of the year award in 2013.
Rick Oberdorfer, who’s known Palmer for 34 years, remembers having a fan belt on his car break at 2 a.m. when he was on his way back to Thompson from Flin Flon.
“I hitchhiked a ride in,” said Oberdorfer. “I phoned Fred at 2:30 in the morning. Fred picked me up, had a fan belt and we fixed it. That’s the kind of guy Fred is. Fred is always pushing Thompson and I know that he loves living here. He’s proud to be a northerner. Fred has always made it his responsibility to help the city and the region in whatever way he can. We need more Fred Palmers in our community.”
Wayne Hall, who was recruited by Palmer to help restore the Norseman float plane at Spirit Way’s northern aviation tribute overlooking the Burntwood River, said the experience taught him a lot about airplanes.
“I also had such a great group of people to work with and I had my friend and I will never forget it the rest of my life,” said Hall.
Palmer said anything he achieved as a volunteer was thanks to the people who helped him out.
“It’s not a one-man band,” he said. “I hope our young volunteers get the same opportunities to serve that I did. Thanks to all who’ve made this Thompson such a fun place to live, work and serve.”
Previous recipients of the Order of Thompson are Sya Gregovski, Tom O’Brien, Nick DiVirgilio, John Donovan, Ted Smook, Adrian DeGroot, Red Sangster, Gail and Arnold Morberg and Volker Beckmann.