Catrina Thompson has been the Winston-Salem Chief of Police for the past six years, but she’s been a leader and advocate for the community’s most vulnerable residents since moving to Winston-Salem in January of 1994. Motivated by the lessons and examples of her grandparents, Thompson has always been driven to lead a life of service. She’s been intentional about modeling the ideal of ‘good community policing’ through her visibility, accessibility, and transparency. While understanding the weight, responsibility, and importance of her position, she’s proud that the reputation she’s built as a strong leader also includes qualities like compassion, empathy, and kindness—traits learned from her grandparents that haven’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated by most Winston-Salem residents.
Chief Thompson will retire from the police force this month on December 15. That date will mark the end of her tenure as the city’s police chief, but it certainly does not signal the end of her service to this community. She is committed to continuing to help and advocate for people who find themselves marginalized and at risk. Thompson’s efforts moving forward will place a special emphasis on helping older adults. One of the ways she’s already doing that is as the newest Chairperson of the Senior Services Board of Directors. She will be the fourth woman and the first African-American to hold that position. Leading the Board of one of the most recognizable nonprofits in this community is a sure indication of her desire to continue to play a major role in service to the Forsyth County community.
Thompson says that her expanding involvement with Senior Services, clearly seeing the needs of older adults, and an increasing understanding of the agency’s mission and approach to meeting those needs have prompted a change within her. “I’ve known about Senior Services. They’ve always had an outstanding reputation in our community. But it’s understanding the impact. I wanted to become a part of it because I’ve seen firsthand, in my personal and professional world, the positive impact that Senior Services has on our community.” As she found more opportunities to be hands-on in helping older adults, the rewarding feelings she has experienced as a result have grown, she has felt compelled to share the value of the organization with others. “Members of our community should know that Senior Services is about inclusion and that we’re about creating an opportunity for seniors to live with dignity as they’re aging and helping them to age with a purpose.”
Thompson is proud of the role she’s playing in advancing the mission to help older adults remain in their homes for as long as possible but realizes that it will require reinforcements. Speaking about meeting the growing needs of seniors she said, “We can’t do it alone! It requires the support—time, talent, and treasures—from members of our community, including our businesses and their contributions. But you talk about a return on investment, if you look around and think about the work that’s being done with our Meals-on-Wheels program, the Kindermusik program, and then you look at the results seen in the faces of the people who experience the programs, like at the Williams Adult Day Center—it’s a reward that’s out there for you to get, you just have to get involved.”
Catrina Thompson will soon begin a new career as a United States Marshall. She is assured that no matter what changes and challenges she will meet professionally, her love of this community and commitment to serving it—especially seniors, will never change. Learn how to help support the Senior Services mission at seniorservicesinc.org.
We were honored to host Catrina’s retirement party at Senior Services. Check out photos from that special day by clicking here.