Lubbock Impact founding member still remembered a year after passing

KLBK News

LUBBOCK, Texas — In October 2020, Lubbock Impact Executive Director Rory Thomas passed away due to COVID-19. In August of 2021, a bench was placed outside of the Lubbock Impact building in her memory.

Rory Thomas was one of the first founding members that started the nonprofit. The organization began as just a soup kitchen feeding 50 people. As time went on, feeding the community continued to be very important to her.

“Her biggest contribution was every Wednesday, serving meals to 250 to 300 people in a sit down environment.” Yvonne Dorman, board member at Lubbock Impact, said.

Thomas’ friends and family say they miss her dearly. They said she loved her work, seeing it as a part of her and not just a job to do.

Dorman said Thomas put a lot into the Lubbock Impact building, and she can be seen in the paintings and sayings on the walls that she painted.

“Her memory is here,” Dorman said. “You walk in this building, this is Rory. She had this done. She was such a personality. She just lives in this place.”

After her passing, because of the person she was and what she did, a bench was placed in her honor and is remembered to this day.

“It was placed in her honor, along with the plaque and along with the concrete that it’s sitting in. All of it is,” Dorman said. “All of it is because of Rory.”

Those who may show up to Lubbock Impact still ask about Thomas, some of whom are unaware that she has passed.

“There are people that that don’t know that she passed away, that haven’t been in contact with us for a while, that are coming back for whatever their need might be. Whether they need services here or if they’re volunteers here that that haven’t heard that Rory passed,” Dorman said.

According to Dorman, the things Rory did are still being carried on.

“Rory was the person behind Lubbock Impact at the time,” Dorman said. “And because of her and the donations after she passed, we’ve been able to weather a really tough time with COVID and being closed.”

‘Rory loves Lubbock, and Lubbock loves Rory’ is something Sundee Cravey, Thomas’ sister, said.

“Because of the generosity of so many people that loved Rory, and that loved Lubbock Impact … they raised enough money to completely overhaul the kitchen. So everything that Rory wanted for the kitchen, was able to come to fruition through the generosity.” Cravey said.

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