Tom is no stranger to challenges. At a very early age he was exposed to alcohol, drugs and unhealthy environments that quickly led him to foster care and eventually to The House of Concord, a corrections facility run by The Salvation Army in the late 80’s. Tom noted that through The Salvation Army programs at The House of Concord he was given opportunity for schooling, to learn mechanics and volunteer at events which made an impact and showed that there were opportunities for him. Later on Tom continued to face gang related activities and when he decided that it was time to make a change, his peers did not accept his decision. Tom faced hours of torture and was left for dead. Due to the extent of his injuries, he was admitted to Surrey Memorial for 3 months and later a friend took Tom to Powell River for a fresh start.
Tom recollected that when he arrived in Powell River all he had was a pair of pants, a shirt and hospital booties. Besides his physical challenges, his ex had disappeared with his daughter, Kailee, and refused contact. As Tom continued on his road to healing and recovery, he was blessed with a son Jamey, but he shared that at times the feeling of raising a child felt overwhelming. It was difficult for Tom to find work or receive social assistance to support him and Jamey. Throughout these challenges Captain Rick Robins, from The Salvation Army, and their staff supported him with food, family services and parenting support; “it kept me going”, Tom noted.
For 10 years, Tom continued to heal from his traumatic journey and to search and gain custody of his daughter. A month ago, Tom obtained full legal custody of his daughter Kailee. His business has been so successful that he has moved into a brand new 3 bedroom home with his family. Tom continues to work in the Community Garden and volunteers at the Brain Injury Society to give back. On one of his final thoughts he remarked that The Salvation Army staff was there for him throughout his journey. Only one week after Tom obtained custody of Kailee he received a message from Captain Rick, to “offer me congratulations and let me know how proud he was of me for going the extra mile.”