Part shyness, part humility, part curmudgeon, getting Rusty Thigpen to agree to his own retirement party has been a true labor of love, according to Stacy Pacholick, GRACE Chief Program Officer.

Rusty officially retired some time before the first of the year, and several party dates were discussed. A cancellation and a reschedule later, at long last, Rusty will accept honors for his 18 years of service this Thursday, March 5, 6-7 p.m. in the Community Rooms of GRACE Main Offices, 837 East Walnut Street in Grapevine.

“We all love him so much,” said Stacy. “We want to take this chance to show him just how much he means to us, and to those who worked with him over the years.”

Over 18 years, the number of co-workers, volunteers, and associates from other agencies and suppliers is tremendous. For many at the Tarrant County Food Bank, local soup kitchens, and area grocers, Rusty was the face of GRACE.

Moreover, for GRACE clients who visited the GRACE Food Pantry more than 110,000 times over his tenure, Rusty was the kind gentleman who helped feed their families, give them diapers and formula for their babies, provide hygiene and cleaning supplies for their homes, and even feed their pets.

Rusty was a staunch hunger fighter, and some of the programs that evolved under his watch have become hallmark feeding programs for GRACE, and models for other social service agencies to duplicate.

Join us in wishing Rusty congratulations on a job well done, and help us heap as much love as possible on him, even if he’s embarrassed by it!

Please RSVP to by March 2.