Presiding over courts and causes
Community: Delavan Township
Occupation: Attorney, Clair Law Offices in Delavan
Education: Bachelor's degree, Manhattanville College; law degree, Seattle University School of Law
Hobbies: Scuba diving, bicycling
On mentoring other town judges: "Hopefully it is improving the quality of municipal justice in our state … Otherwise, I wouldn't continue to do it."
On his 150-mile bike race for charity: "This year it rained a lot. We had several collisions. It was just too slippery."
On his home along a golf course: "I played golf twice this year."
On a teen girl who appeared in his court and told him she was first in her class: "Her mother told me her daughter was home schooled. At first I was going to put her on probation, but that didn't happen."
DELAVAN TOWNSHIP When Ed Thompson needs a vacation, he goes scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Swimming with stingrays is how he takes a break from being the United Way of Delavan-Darien Board president.
Diving for shipwrecks is how he relaxes after directing the Borg Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to local high school students.
Lying on the beach is how he recovers from 150-mile bike races that raise money for cancer.
Soaking in the sun is how he kicks back after days in the courtroom as the town of Delavan judge.
The 55-year-old scuba diver might get paid to be an attorney, but his life's work might as well be serving his community.
"Coming from New York, which is rather large compared to Delavan, I think a person can make a bigger impact in a small community." he said.
Thompson wears a suit to work with a United Way pin on his jacket. He has a tidy corner office with shelves of law books on display. He is funny and humble and laughs easily. He leans forward with enthusiasm when he starts talking about helping others.
He and his wife, Jennie, 47, have lived in Delavan since 1978. He has been the town of Delavan judge since 1983. He trains and mentors other judges around the state at classes and seminars.
"I don't know if I've ever asked Ed to teach and he turned me down. And his peers, the municipal judges, love learning from him," said Karla Baumgartner of the Supreme Court Office of Judicial Education.
"The reason he does it is because Ed sincerely cares about the quality and professionalism of municipal courts around the state."
Thompson also is the United Way of Delavan-Darien Board president. He is responsible for fundraising, meetings and deciding which organizations will receive money. He has been on the board for six years.
"Ed is one of those wonderfully dedicated people who will go the extra mile to do the job," said Jim Santy, United Way executive director. "Ed, I think, is very concerned about the welfare of the community."
Thompson also directs the Borg Foundation to give scholarships to students interested in engineering and science.
And he rides in the Scenic Shore 150 Mile Bike Tour along Lake Michigan for charity. He recently pedaled to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He and his wife matched every dollar donated to the cause.
"We're not Lance Armstrongs, which is why we do charitable rides," Thompson said.
Thompson doesn't intend to rein in his giving spirit.
He'll continue to stay involved in the community he believes has given so much to him. He knows many more folks will need a hand during these tough economic times.
"The need is great in every community, and all of a sudden, the need has quadrupled," Thompson said.