When she heard Nikki Foster, of The Mosaic Company, announce the 2022 Riverview Citizen of the Year, that’s when tears started to swell for awardee Betty Jo Tompkins at the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, which took place on February 3 at The Regent.
What immediately came to mind, Tompkins said, was how she wished her husband, Chris, and her son, Christopher, who passed away in 2001 and 2005, respectively, could be with her in person to share in the moment.
“I was thinking about my son, my husband, my parents, all the people who instilled in me the faith and confidence to do the right thing,” Tompkins said. “It came back to me what my family always said, ‘Always seek power to do, never seek power to be.’”
Tompkins is executive director of the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District (HSWCD), for which she served as chair of the volunteer, elected to its board of supervisors. Her husband and son also served as HSWCD chairs, making their collective involvement a unique family legacy spanning more than 30 years.
“My family would have been thrilled, not because of the award itself, but because they knew how impassioned I’ve always been about serving others,” Tompkins said. “I believe at the core of everything that we’re put on this earth to do the very best we can while we’re here. I believe that from the minute we start to the very end of our lives, we should focus on making the world a better place for everybody.”
Tompkins is a past Rotary International district governor and a charter member of the Rotary Club of Brandon South, now known as the Rotary Club of Brandon Global Eco. With the local club’s partnership, Tompkins kicked off ‘Operation Pollination’ at last year’s HSWCD Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge luncheon.
Tompkins has written conservation grants that have brought tens of thousands of dollars to the community. Inducted into the Florida 4-H and the National Association of Conservation Districts Southeast halls of fame, Tompkins has served on many boards and in Brandon received the Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award and the Key Citizen Award.