FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Every year since 1998, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots have been celebrating those who give their time to help others. The program was originally known as the Community Quarterback Awards, and were presented to those who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism.
Back in 2011, the awards were renamed in honor of the late Myra Kraft who committed her life to volunteering. As part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, the Kraft family hosts a special luncheon each year to show their appreciation for local volunteers.
On Thursday, June 8, 26 volunteers were recognized for their contributions at an awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. Fifteen local volunteers received a $5,000 grant for the nonprofit organization for which they volunteer. Ten others received grants of $10,000 for their New England-based nonprofit and one grand prize winner was presented with a $25,000 grant for their charity.
On hand to congratulate the award winners were Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Charitable Foundation President Joshua Kraft and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett. Patriots players Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski also made a surprise appearance to congratulate the winners.
Kenneth Thompson of Rutland, Vt. was recognized as one of this year’s $5,000 third prize winners.
Thompson joined the Vermont Elks back in 1983 and has been actively involved in every aspect of its mission. Over the years he has been involved in many youth and veteran activities and was elected as President of the Vermont Elks Association where he oversaw 12 Elks lodges.
Through his volunteer work, Thompson was instrumental in helping to save Silver Towers Camp, a safe, overnight camp for more than 300 people with disabilities.
“Our organization is extremely proud that Kenneth Thompson has been chosen for this award,” said Brian Gaura, 2017-2018 State President of the Vermont Elks Association. “Kenneth led this organization and supported our State Major Project when some folks thought we should close our doors. His perseverance and determination along with many other members of our organization has turned Silver Towers into a safe haven where our very special campers can enjoy their vacation each summer. Without his dedication to the Elks, this camp may have closed and for that we are forever grateful to Kenneth Thompson.”
As a veteran of the United States navy, Thompson has displayed a longstanding commitment to serving his local community and his country.
“I am honored to receive this award as I am equally honored to be a member of the Vermont Elks Association,” said Thompson. “Having served as State President in 2005-2006, our State Major Project, Silver Towers Camp is near and dear to my heart. Volunteering is a way of life for me and my family. It is such a great feeling when you know you have made a difference in the lives of some very special people.”
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett congratulate Kenneth Thompson from Vermont Elks Charities for being selected as a 2017 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award third prize winner. During the June 8 luncheon, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation awarded $200,000 in grants to 26 New England nonprofits. The Vermont Elks Charities received a $5,000 grant in honor of Thompson’s volunteer efforts. (photo courtesy of Eric J. Adler/New England Patriots)
l-r: Ken’s wife Nancy, Ken, Carolyn Revenna – Silver Towers Camp Director and Brian Gaura – 2017-2018 President of the Vermont Elks Association are pictured with the Patriots Super Bowl Trophies.