Looking after people’s well-being is second nature for recently retired health care administrator Shirley Thomas. Now, since joining the Conservation Alliance board in early 2010, she’s helping to care for an entire ecosystem.
A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in community health education and a master’s in health care administration, Shirley first became involved with the Alliance in the mid-1990s through her daughter, Heather (Thomas) Overholser. (Although Heather left the staff a while ago, she was a longtime Alliance employee who’s now head of Teton County’s recycling and solid waste program.)
“I’ve remained a member ever since,” says Shirley, “and I’m excited to be able to share some of my knowledge and passion for our wonderful community as a member of the board of this great organization.”
Shirley spent most of the past 10 years telecommuting from her Melody Ranch home to her job as director of the Solaris Physician Network in New Jersey; she retired in 2010. Her husband Daniel, a teacher at Jackson Hole High School since 2001, also recently retired, giving the couple more time to become involved in the community.
Shirley believes that the biggest issue facing Jackson Hole is “our development dilemma in a world that presses us to think only of the financial and to forget about the environmental impacts of our actions.”
“I hope that I can be someone who can discuss the pros and cons of our development issues and work toward making our town and county truly sustainable,” she adds. Besides the Alliance, Shirley serves on the Eco-Fair planning committee and also volunteers for the Center for the Arts, the Grand Teton Music Festival and the recycling center. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, watercolor painting, photography and cultivating her organic vegetable garden.