Friends praise Ward’s vision

Friends praise Ward’s vision

Two of the people who have most respected Tom Ward during his years running The Breeze agreed to share what’s made him special. Here’s what they had to say.

Rev. Thomas Conboy Jr., former pastor of several area churches

In the beginning there was a community made up of several villages populated by wonderful folks. The difficulty was that, apart from schools and churches, folks in one village were often not aware of the problems, concerns, celebrations and joys of their neighbors. Then Tom Ward had a dream and that dream became the reality of The Valley Breeze, a local newspaper covering life in Cumberland and Lincoln.

Projects from library expansion, school projects, public safety complex to infrastructure (roads, parks, water supply) were/are reported. Weddings, funerals, the activities, of a multitude of local groups, churches and news of various youth and school and sports activities are recognized as a part of our social fabric.

To keep the residents informed, meetings of the Town Council, School Committee and various other entities were covered and opportunity given for individual response and opinions (letters to the paper). Elected and appointed officials were held accountable. The Valley Breeze has helped make Cumberland/Lincoln, and now others, better communities in which to live, educate our children, yes, and retire.

Behind all this is our guest of honor who created this entity in his image and surrounded himself with others who shared his vision. In true Tom Ward fashion, he led the way by example ... photographer, writer, sales, delivery and editor.

Tom Ward’s deep and devoted Christian faith, his love of family values and unblinking honesty and integrity made this part of the world a better place. From the very beginning, the first thing I turned to in The Breeze was Tom’s editorial. I still do in Minnesota.

You won’t remember much of what is said today, but I want you to remember the one phrase I have always used to describe Tom Ward: He has been and is the conscience of our community.

I pray that you will enjoy your “retirement,” Tom, and I hope you will have the opportunity to share your wisdom and insight with us in the future. Thank you for caring enough to give all of us your very best.

Jean Rondeau, vice president, Stadium Theatre Foundation

The introduction of The Valley Breeze to northern R.I. is when I first learned of Tom Ward.

I got to know Tom personally with his volunteerism at the Stadium Theatre. It readily became obvious he was genuinely interested in the success of the Stadium and he proved it issue after issue by the very generous coverage of progress at the Stadium Theatre. Additionally, he always made himself available to provide advice and opinion when asked; his responses always hoped for the success of the theater.

The support of the Stadium Theatre, the Spelling Bee and many other community activities and charitable organizations, his thoughtful editorials (often to the detriment of local politicians) and his work ethic and love of community and country is obvious.

Tom is the real deal.

Bottom line? Rhode Island is fortunate that Tom Ward was born and lives in this great state.

Be well, Tom! I wish you and your family a well-deserved and healthy retirement and look forward to seeing you often at the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre and Conservatory!