A local veterinarian is scaling back after serving the La Crosse community for 42 years.
Dr. Tom Thompson has many loves but his first is his wife Jean.
The two met in veterinarian school, married, then in 1978 moved to La Crosse to start their practice. They were also starting a family but their first child, Kristen died after 59 days.
"It was an amazing thing. They asked what we wanted for her. I did the normal looking at an x-ray with Dr. Jeff Thompson and tearing and said I thought she would be the first President. I would like that she would live and Jean said fresh air. A couple of days later just before she died the staff knocked on our door cause we stayed up there and said we're ready. We're going to Goose Island. That was our request to have her be with our family members and our dogs," said Dr. Tom.
The couple tried for another child. Christopher died at birth. He and his sister both had a rare genetic disease. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals began...shortly thereafter and continues today helping area families deal with often fatal childhood health issues. Thompson is not only a fun addition to the fundraising efforts he is committed to helping other families in similar situations.
"CMN, I've asked them if I can have the right to be a life long member of the board. It fit like a glove. I needed some place to talk about it and spread the word and when you lose young kids it's out of order and people generally don't talk about it a lot so that gave us an opportunity to talk about the kids that were," said Thompson.
The Thompson's continued to pursue being parents and adopted daughter Lynsee from Korea and Chiyo from Japan. They were happy, loving children who excelled in school but in college Lindsay met someone who introduced her to drugs.
"It was the telephone call that haunted you. It was a crazy time. and a lot of things go through your mind. When they say you've got to hit the bottom of the barrel before you get up well I don't know how far down we were it was pretty far," said Thompson.
Today Lynsee is seven years sober and just like her father using her experience to help others. Dr. Tom now sits on the board for Coulee Council on Addictions.
"We got the bigger better form of a child in the name of Lynsee than we had before. She brought us to a different level. We're better people for that. and she brought herself to a higher level," said Thompson.
While Dr. Tom is scaling back from his 42 year veterinarian practice he says he will never stop doing what it is that brought him to La Crosse - giving sick, injured pets a fighting chance. Turbo came to Dr. Tom after being hit by a car in a November snow storm.
"He looked at me with this incredibly intense, strong dilated yellow eyes and I could just feel him say give me a chance and let me live. His purr was so loud and I was like Tom, drop what you're doing and get to the clinic," said Dr. Tom.
Like every other experience that shaped Dr. Tom's life, he's using it for good.
"I take Turbo to schools and we would talk about not disability, I don't like that word but alter change different abilities. We talk about strengths and not so strengths rather than weaknesses. What better lesson for particularly elementary kids to have this cat in a cart, wheelchair if you will going full blast down a runway giving high fives to kids," said Dr. Tom.
"If I didn't become a Veterinarian my second profession was going to be teaching and getting into the classrooms and being involved in the schools has satisfied that teacher side of me," said Dr. Tom.
Dr. Tom is recently cancer free and says despite the challenges he has faced in life he has no regrets especially when it comes to choosing his life partner and soul mate, Dr. Jean.
"We were the right ones to have challenges, when I think back. That we had each other. That we were both on the same page.
Out of difficult times good things can happen," said Dr. Tom.