Category Archives: In Tommy’s Words

Influence in the Workplace

“I remember that day very well. The event was early in the morning and it was very cold outside. I had been back from rehabilitation about six months. I was still very weak and had been battling medical issues. However, I felt the adrenaline of being asked to speak and all of the great people in the room. The only thing I know is to speak from my heart. Hopefully, you will enjoy this video of the event. Blessings to all,” Tommy.

On April 9th, 2010, exactly 14 months after Tommy was injured, he was asked to share his testimony to a gathering of people at Workmatters in Fayetteville, AR. We thought you might enjoy hearing his talk. It is a powerful statement of faith.

Q&A with Tommy: What makes you happy?

“You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” 

John 16:24 (New Living Translation)

The question I am asked most often is, how can I be happy with my paralysis which caused a total change in my life after being healthy and active for 50 years? Let’s face it, all of us want to be happy and have joy in our lives.

To truly find happiness, you may need to pray about it and search your heart for the right answer. A documentary titled “Happy” states that 10% of happiness comes from circumstances, 50% from genetics and 40% intentional activity.

Flipped touches on this subject with regard to my sense of positive outlook and joy on a daily basis. I will try to convey the intentional activities I choose that brings happiness and joy to my life. Continue reading

Does Tommy have a social life? (another common question)

This is another question that I often get asked about life after my accident. The question is, do I have a social life?

The answer is, absolutely! I love being around people very much. Other than work interaction with employees and partners during the day, I enjoy gathering with friends and family in our home. Robyn and I love to be out on our back deck with friends, food and beverages.  We also go to friends’ homes and to restaurants. After being out, It takes about two hours getting me in bed, respiratory done and lights off. Sometimes that can make for a long night.

I attend one or two Razorback football games a year due to the gracious invitation of friends allowing me to use a few seats in their box. Hog basketball games are much more difficult. Handicap seating is very limited and cumbersome as well as parking. All of this may sound fun but finding available handicap parking within a reasonable distance to a stadium is hard on the caregiver. Continue reading

A look into my day (from Tommy)

Several people have asked me to write about my physical condition. Many of you don’t see me on a regular basis and have no idea of what my daily routine entails and what issues arise.

I am very lucky to be able to get to work almost every day. That would not be possible without the excellent work of caregivers on weekday mornings such as Lorena and Sophia, and one on weekends, Mishell or Zaira. They bathe, dress, and feed me while performing various medical procedures along the way. The most important procedure being respiratory therapy.

This morning routine takes approximately four hours. Nightly I have one caregiver, either April, Chris, or Zaira, putting me in bed via Hoyer lift (basically an electric lift utilizing a body sling) from my wheelchair to the bed around 8:30 p.m. or so to once again perform respiratory therapy along with other duties until around 10 p.m. (lights out). They must remain in the house all night due to possible and probable ventilation or respiratory issues as well as turning me every three hours to avoid pressure wounds.

I am blessed to have my caregiver, Ashley, taking me to the office at around noon on weekdays. I am a co-founder and Senior Vice President, Principal at Sage Partners, a commercial real estate firm based in Rogers, AR. She is skilled at the normal medical procedures required during the day, but also works with me on daily business to handle correspondence, emails, texts, projects, proposals, conference calls and all things work-related. Additionally, Ashley drives me to client meetings, lunches, doctor appointments, and random errands.

All of this may sound like we have a set routine, but that is hardly the case. Due to my quadriplegic condition, nothing is routine on any given day. There can be extraordinary respiratory issues, urinary tract infections, ventilation equipment failures, wheelchair malfunctions, and van issues (ramp, chair lock, parking)—just to name a few.

As you can see, without the people mentioned above and my amazing wife, Robyn, I would not be physically able, healthy enough, or have the positive mindset to get out of bed each morning.