Karin Noble presented the Heritage Certificate of Recognition to Richard J. Thomas at the 2017 Annual Dinner held in the gallery of the Meaford Hall in May. He was chosen as this year's recipient because he has promoted, preserved and shared the stories and photographs of Grey County's history through several media.
Richard came to Owen Sound in 1986 to work as the local news correspondent for CKCO-TV. He remained in the City when this work ended.
Former chief librarian, Andrew Armitage introduced Richard to the local history section of the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public. During the first Novel Marathon, Richard drafted the book, Gas Head Willy. The setting of the book is Owen Sound in the 1920s. He named characters in the book after those who contributed to the fundraiser. It was the first book in the D.B. Murphy mystery series. Readers have become interested in learning more about the community's history.
Richard has not limited himself to writing fiction. His research has also appeared in more than just books.
He curated the collections of photographs from the archives of local photographs. His book, 100 Years of Pleasure: the Story of Harrison Park, 1912-2012 includes historical photographs and post cards and the photographs of James Master.
Richard has authored books where he shares his more in-depth research: The Motorists' Shortcut: 100 years of the Owen Sound Transportation; The Port of Owen Sound:1840-1912 and Saints & Sinners: the Story of Owen Sound: Canada's Last Dry City.
Grey Roots has benefitted from Richard's talent as a researcher, writer and videographer. Richard also shares his historical videos on his Facebook page and on his Youtube Channel.
Richard speaks to local groups about the area's history. He was also the founding president of the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre.
The Grey County Historical Society agrees with those who wrote letters of support that Richard J. Thomas is deserving of recognition for ensuring that our local history is accessible and respected today and in the future.
Please consider who might be recognized in 2018.