NRVCS Staff Profile: Tom Meadows

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Tom Meadows first joined the team at NRVCS in 1995. Although he has held a few different positions with the agency during that time, Tom has primarily worked with individuals diagnosed with a developmental disability, specifically children.

A native of Tazewell, Tom holds a BS in both political science and psychology. He and his wife of 22 years, Kathy, (a second grade teacher at Christiansburg Primary School) have three children: Jordan, a rising senior at Radford University; Nicholas, a freshman at Bluefield College; and Maddy, a junior at Christiansburg High School.

In his “spare time,” Tom – who played baseball in college – serves as the baseball coach for Christiansburg Middle School. He also assists with the JV and varsity teams at Christiansburg High School. At one point in his past, Tom worked security for events at the civic centers in both Salem and Roanoke, where he had the opportunity to meet many famous people. He specifically recalls hanging out with the group Metallica!

Tom recently took the time to sit down and answer a few other questions about his career and work at NRVCS. His responses are included below:

What drew you to a career in human services/behavioral health?
While pursuing my second degree in Psychology, I started working part-time for NRVCS in March of 1995 as a services provider at the Fairlawn Group home. I’ve worked for NRVCS ever since, becoming a case manager with the Child and Family Services (CFS) unit in October 1997. When I started with CFS, I provided mental health case management services, mental health in-home services case management, ID (intellectual disability) case management and some service coordination services with Early Intervention. I wore a lot of hats when I first started but at that time there were only about 30 staff in the CFS unit!

What’s kept you in this field for so long?
NRVCS for one – it’s been a great organization to work for over the last 23 years. Also, I’ve enjoyed getting to work with so many families and learning so much from them. I’ve been blessed to work with so many great people at NRVCS, as well as some great folks that work in the community. In my travels around the state, others talk very highly of NRVCS and we have such a good reputation. I’m so proud to be a part of a cutting edge organization that leads the way – not only in the NRV – but across the state.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I’d say dealing with the ever changing landscape of ID/DD services. It’s been great to see some major advances and changes to the system we work in, and they were definitely needed and supported, but some of these changes have been challenging to both staff and clients.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Learning from the families we serve. I’ve learned so much from them – invaluable information that can’t be found in textbooks or trainings. Everyone that works in this field should embrace that and be willing to learn from our families. And my staff – I’m learn from them every day as well and they are the most wonderful people to work with day in and day out.

Why is the work we do at NRVCS so important? How would you explain this to someone who isn’t directly impacted by our services?
Because what we do makes a difference in the lives of the folks we work for. Sometimes, it we may see it instantly when clients achieve their outcomes. But we have to keep in mind it’s not always a sprint; it’s sometimes a marathon, and we have to hang in there…helping individuals get through their daily ups and downs. Day-to-day we may not see it or realize progress is happening, or what we do is helping, but it is.

You have to hang in there and keep supporting and keep empowering. Even the littlest of things we do can make a huge difference in the lives in others. Down the road, those are the things that people remember about you and the time you spent working for them. They may not tell you, but they’ll always remember it. Creating those enduring, supportive relationships is one of the greatest things we do.

You’ve been around long enough to see lots of changes – both at NRVCS – and in the system as a whole. Which of those changes stands out for you as being the most significant?
Probably the most significant, which has been both good and bad, has been the ID/DD Waiver redesign that we went through back in 2016. Change was needed and hopefully it’s impacted our clients positively, but it has been challenging at times.

Could you share a few thoughts about your team?
I’m so lucky to supervise such a great staff. Each person on each team brings their own set of talents, skills, and professionalism that truly brings positive and meaningful outcomes to our client’s lives. They make me proud every day and they strive to empower the families they work for.

They are professional, dedicated, passionate, team players who are supportive of one another. They have a genuine chemistry and admiration of each other and with our clients – and I hear nothing but great things about them from our community partners.

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