OHAN board President Darryl Pruett, right, presents award to Thayer. photo: Rick Perkins
by Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – The Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods (OHAN) presented the Oak Hill Citizen of the Year award to Tom Thayer at its annual holiday party on Dec. 8 at the Rockin’ Y Ranch.
Thayer, a resident of the South Windmill Run neighborhood, is a longtime community activist with an impressive list of organizations he is actively involved with, including:
- Oak Hill Neighborhood Planning Contact Team
- Oak Hill Trails Association
- Save Oak Hill
- Bicycle Advisory Council
- South Windmill Run Neighborhood Association
An avid bicyclist, Thayer is a Houston native who moved to Oak Hill in 2003. He works for the state.
The recipient is chosen each year by the OHAN board. President Darryl Pruett said Thayer’s selection was unanimous. Pruett cited two reasons for Thayer’s selection:
- His extraordinary efforts to improve the community
- His many years of service to the Oak Hill community
OHAN treasurer Alan Watts added, “Tom is driven by his passion for the Oak Hill community. He has sacrificed thousands of thankless hours in all the different capacities he serves, so we hope this award shows how much the community appreciates his work.”
Neighbor and friend Beki Halpin said of Thayer, “He is a good-humored, hard-working, creative problem solver and one of the nicest people on the planet.” She credits Thayer with a positive attitude and objectivity that allows all sides to be heard.
Halpin added, “Tom’s humble persona masks the mighty work he has done on highway, trails, bike, land use, development and parks issues throughout Oak Hill. We are lucky to have Tom as such an enduring champion for our part of town.”
Carol Cespedes, another of Thayer’s friends and neighbors, said, “I have known Tom as a guy we can always call on for neighborhood or environmental causes.” She added, “Tom is about as involved as a citizen can get short of running for public office. OHAN has made an excellent choice this year.”
Thayer’s friends say he not only talks about the importance of the environment, but he lives it as well—using his bike or public transit to commute to his job downtown. Cespedes said this passion led to OHAN also presenting Thayer with the “Hippie Award” for the lowest carbon footprint.
Bicycle issues are so important to Thayer that he came to the OHAN holiday party directly after speaking before the Urban Transportation Commission, which advises the Austin City Council on issues concerning transportation.
Thayer said he was surprised by the honor. “It was a great Christmas present,” he told the Gazette. “It was really neighbors like Carol Cespedes and Beki Halpin who helped get me involved in the local neighborhood, and it has taken off from there.”