Great news – I am only behind on one blog post now. Yay! Here is the gratitude blog post intended for yesterday, Sunday, November 25, 2012.
Today, I’d like to express gratitude to Alexandria resident Tom Fahey for his volunteer efforts. An accountant by day, Tom has plenty of other titles under his belt. He is currently a past grand knight (PGK) of the Mount Vernon Knights of Columbus (KOC), as well as their acting snack bar manager and family and youth director.
But that is just resume stuff. The real deal is that Tom is a loving father of four grown children, a dedicated grandfather, and a devoted husband and caretaker of a wife who has had recurring medical issues for many years.
My husband met Tom back in either 2004 or 2005 when they both joined the Knights of Columbus at the same time. I met Tom later on, and had always heard that he was busy doing volunteer work for some cause or another. Tom rose through the ranks at the KOC, gaining new leadership roles each year until 2008, when he finally reached the pinnacle as the Grand Knight.
At that time, I was so happy for Tom because he was finally going to fulfill his obligation of Grand Knight and retire, with plenty of time to work at his day job while still pulling heavy duty caring for his wife. To my surprise, Tom marched on with the KOC, gaining new leadership titles each year.
My husband succeeded Tom as the Grand Knight the following year. By default, I became the person in charge of the lady Knights. Boy, what a nightmare that was for our family of three! Seems our leadership styles filled with innovation did not sit well with the fierce traditionalists at the KOC. I resigned my leadership post quickly while my husband stuck it out.
From that point forward, I never stepped foot back into the KOC hall. My husband has. The warmth, jovial times, and friendships that my husband once enjoyed with his fraternity had vanished. The people at the KOC distanced themselves from us and gave us the cold shoulder.
Guess who never turned their back on us? Guess who continued to smile, converse, ask questions, and shake our hands whenever we ran into each other? Guess who never stopped being friendly with us during those difficult times, and, as a result, has now endeared himself into our lives?
You guessed it. The one, the only, Tom Fahey. Seeing that Tom never let KOC problems get in the way of being a true friend to my husband and me, he takes the biblical passage “love one another as I love you” (John 13:34-35) to a whole new meaning. As such, I feel that it is only just to repay Tom’s graciousness by honoring him and expressing gratitude in this blog post.
Tom’s kindness to my husband and me is just one shade of Tom’s character, though. There are a million more shades that different people see, depending on where they happen to be. Tom’s colorful shades come out throughout his many volunteer efforts.
I’m not completely up to speed on all of Tom’s volunteer efforts, but I do know he is a fixture at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Richmond Highway. He generally performs his usher duties on Sundays at the 10:30 a.m. mass. He’s also apt to take on traffic control at the Good Shepherd International Festival or at other events.
Despite his mainstay work at his day job, the Knights of Columbus, or Good Shepherd, Tom somehow finds the time to drive his grandchildren to and from school, while maintaining an admirable round-the-clock schedule to care for his sick wife.
I’ve often wondered why Tom would voluntarily throw himself into so many charitable efforts without a real need to do so. From my naïve perspective, Tom’s real talents lie in the office, with enough time to handle family and personal obligations. But that is clearly not how he sees it. I imagine that Tom has interpreted his calling in life to include continuous volunteer work. Period.
In that regard, Tom definitely reminds me of Jerry Lewis, who championed the muscular dystrophy telethon for nearly 46 years without ever revealing his reasons for doing so. And that approach is fine by me. I do not need to delve into Tom’s heart to ascertain the exact reasons why he chooses to do so much volunteer work. Nor do I want to. That is personal and exclusively within God’s domain.
At the heart of the matter is a kind friend, a good soul, and a tireless devotee to the spirit of philanthropy through hands-on labor. I wholeheartedly applaud Tom Fahey for his undying dedication to his volunteer projects and admire him for being selflessly devoted to give loving care for his wife.
Thank you, Tom, for being so nice to us. We are grateful for your friendship!
What are you grateful for today?