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  Dave Thomas dies
Family Helper editor
(Jan. 8, 2002) Dave Thomas, born July 2, 1932, died at his home in Florida on Jan. 8, 2002. He founded Wendy's restaurants, which he named after his youngest daughter. Thomas was adopted as an infant and became a national advocate for adoption, founding the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. The Foundation provides information, advocacy and financial grants in support of adoption. Profits from his books "Dave's Way" and "Well Done!" go to the Foundation. The Center provides a venue for discussing adoption law.

We have Dave Thomas to thank for National Adoption Awareness Month, the "A Home for the Holidays" TV show at Christmas, the Adoption Awareness Stamp issued in 1999 by the U.S. Postal Service, an annual Adoption Christmas ornament, and his campaign to get major businesses to add or improve adoption benefits to employees.

Pat Fenton of the Adoption Council Of Ontario wrote on Jan. 8, 2002: "I was saddened today to learn that Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and a major supporter of adoption, has died. He has been unparallelled in his contribution and commitment to adoption in North America. He has impacted the lives of hundreds of children in Canada, and thousands in the USA, who have found permanent adoptive homes.

"An adopted person himself, he was a strong advocate for children in need of permanent families. Through the support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which he established in the 1990s, he made possible the launch of the Canada's Waiting Children program which, since 1997, has resulted in over 150 Canadian children being moved from foster care into adoptive homes. Through public service announcements in which he himself talked about being adopted he helped to raise awareness about adoption. His advocacy and leadership have brought attention to the needs of children in care. In the USA his support has been widespread in helping finance programs that help to find adoptive homes for children in care. He also worked personally to raise awareness of adoption among corporations, leading them to develop adoption benefit programs for employees. Wendy's Restaurants of Canada has followed his lead and designated adoption as their charity.

"In the early 90s, during a visit to Toronto, he generously provided a one-time donation to the Adoption Council of Ontario to help us with our work in adoption. I had the pleasure of meeting with him on a few occasions and was impressed by his warmth, his sense of humour and his down to earth style. He will be greatly missed."

Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2002

Pat Fenton, Jan. 8, 2002

Nancy Ashe, About Adoption,

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