LIMA — Allen County Health Board’s longest-serving board president retired Friday.
Dr. Charles Thompson joined the board in January 1982 and served as vice president from 1983 to 1988. In 1988, he became president of the Board of Health for the Combined Allen County General Health District and held the post 26 years.
Thompson, a Bath Township native and graduate of The Ohio State University, has also retired from his family medical practice and is relocating to Florida.
Thompson said he was proud of the talented staff at the health department.
“We’ve maintained an experienced and very good staff over the years,” Thompson said. “There’s a longevity among that group that is tremendous, and I know that experience will continue.”
Allen County Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn presented a plaque to Thompson that will stay in the health board’s meeting room recognizing him. She also gave him a copy of the minutes from his first meeting.
Luhn said Thompson’s tenure included many significant changes over three decades of services, programs from rabies control regulation to HIV and AIDS work to solid waste and food establishment oversight. Things such as milk inspections have gone by the wayside, Luhn said.
“He’s seen vaccine shortages and surpluses. Here are some of the words we talk about now: West Nile Virus, SARS, superbugs, mass care clinics, bed bugs,” Luhn said. “Dr. Thompson has been an advocate for public health in the community, and an advocate for staff. He has advocated for training and education and fair wages and benefits.”