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In the Spotlight--Tommy M.


Thomas (Tommy) McHale started attending Lighthouse in January of 2019. Over the past two years, he has proven to have a remarkable work ethic as he diligently completes his tasks. Tommy appreciates staying busy with jobs such as folding corner protectors, assembling button boards, and producing manipulative math kits from start to finish; this includes building the box, counting and assembling the correct number of pieces for each color, and packaging the box along with the instructions for its use.


When asked about Tommy, his Program Specialist, Bob Zajac, says, “He is one who, when a goal is established, he pursues it to the max.” He shares that Tommy’s precision in his daily routine transfers into his work. “When the bell rings for the end of lunch or breaks, he immediately stops what he is doing and is back on task. You can rely that this precision carries over to producing a perfect product.” Bob values the times when Tommy “will spontaneously start laughing, and I mean laughing for no explainable reason…it is neat to see.”


While Tommy is at Lighthouse, he can often be heard repeating lines from some of his favorite TV shows or video games. Tommy revealed that he especially enjoys playing Sega Superstars Tennis on his PlayStation 3. In addition, Tommy likes the challenge of word searches and often chooses to work on them when he has a few minutes of down time on his breaks.


Speaking of breaks—Christmas is on its way, and Tommy could not be more excited for his favorite holiday! There is a remarkable amount of fun activities to look forward to during the upcoming season of joy and giving, but Tommy expressed that he eagerly anticipates both Christmas shopping and opening presents the most.


A few of Tommy’s other hobbies are eating out at Chick-Fil-A and traveling. Last summer he was glad for the opportunity to travel to Maine on vacation. Tommy’s life sharing provider, Chris Russell, added that Tommy exercises regularly. “I am very impressed that he is able to run and walk 5 miles per day (Monday-Friday) on the treadmill and he has accepted that in his daily routine. One of the big things that he is able to do is add stuff into his routine and eventually make it a daily activity. He is a very hard worker!”


Chris and his wife, Ashley, have been working with Tommy for fifteen years. In that time, they have seen Tommy grow immensely, especially in his independence. Chris notes that although this is a difficult time, he holds onto hope and looks for the light that is undoubtedly at the end of the tunnel because things will get better! “One of the things that I have always been trying to do is to figure out how Tommy will have a job someday. Lighthouse is giving him that opportunity…small steps equal large gains years down the road. I’m excited to see where Tommy is three, five or 10 years from now! Although it may not always be easy for Tommy to learn things, Chris remarked that “he willingly allows us to keep pushing him and guiding him in the right direction.”


Tommy, continue pressing through these changing weeks and months—we cannot wait to see you back in the Lighthouse building pursuing your goals with the same consistency, precision, and dedication you bring to each task you do!


~Ashley Hankins- Program Associate

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