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Regional director, American Lung Association of Western Missouri, 2053-D S. Waverly, Springfield, as of Oct. 19. The American Lung Association is the oldest voluntary health organization, founded in 1904, whose mission is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Since 1904, the American Lung Association has been fighting lung disease through education, community service, advocacy and research. The agency is working to help those who suffer from lung disease today and to stop the spread of lung disease tomorrow. Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in America, Thompson said. Over the last decade, the death rate from lung disease has been growing faster than the death rate from almost any other leading killer. Thompson serves as a board member of CASP Court Alternative Sentencing Program. With her new position, she plans to be a member of the Congress of Lung Association staff.

Age: 36.

No. of years in Springfield/area: 16 years.

Education: Thompson graduated from Carthage Senior High School in Carthage. She attended Southwest Missouri State University where she received a bachelor of science degree in psychology with a minor in personnel management.

Early career: Beginning in high school, Thompson has always worked with children in some capacity. She began volunteering and raising money for the Cerebral Palsy Center through her work with student council. She also baby-sat in her spare time. During college, she was the director of the Little Red Schoolhouse Preschool. After a brief move to Rolla and Lebanon where she had accepted positions as director of preschools, she returned to Springfield and accepted the director position at the Girls Clubs of Springfield, which later became the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield. Thompson was employed there for five years. In the fall of 1994, she accepted the position of executive director of CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri. While in this position, she was able to further develop her skills in volunteer management, fund raising, public relations and grant writing. "I am now making a career move to the American Lung Association of Western Missouri," Thompson said. "Throughout my career, I have chosen to work for children whether they were at-risk youth or abused and neglected children. It has been my focus to work for agencies whose missions advocate for improvement of children's lives. I will be able to continue this focus in working with the American Lung Association. I have also had the opportunity to work with many volunteers over the years, most recently with CASA. I have been inspired by them and admire their commitment to children. The American Lung Association will also allow me to continue to work with dedicated volunteers," she added.

Current projects: Among American Lung Association's ongoing projects is High School Heroes, a program in which high school students are trained to present a tobacco use prevention message to students in grades 4-6 in the communities. Another program is Tobacco-Free Teens, which is a four-week, eight-session cessation program for teens who have the desire to quit using tobacco. Camp Wannabreathe is for children, ages 6-16, with asthma. "These children with special needs had the opportunity this past summer to experience camp life and to receive education in a variety of formats on how to manage their disease," Thompson said. As part of the agency's mission for advocacy, its leaders collaborate with other community representatives in Breathe Easy Springfield. This campaign is committed to encourage and educate people on the importance of breathing clean, smoke-free air.

Management philosophy: "My management philosophy is one of 'hands-on' and lead by example. I believe in teaching and guiding the employee or volunteer by giving the necessary tools and information so the employee or volunteer can be successful at the task," Thompson said.

Spare-time pursuits: Most of her spare time is spent with her family. They enjoy traveling, sports and movies. Thompson also likes to walk and read when time permits.

Family data: Has been married to Keith for 14 years and has two sons, Christopher, 12, and Kyle, 7.

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