Member Profile: Meet Tom Helinski
We had a long talk in front of Baked by Yael across from the zoo on a beautiful Saturday morning. At the end, we marveled at how much our professional histories in Washington brought us in touch with many of the same people, though we had never met. I hope everyone finds similar joy in meeting “new” people through the Village.
Tom spent over four years in the military after college – in Vietnam. He was usually stationed on low hills as part of a small squad whose job was to maintain and monitor sensors that were placed to alert the strike force where Vietcong were advancing. Clearly, an arduous and stressful job! He referred to ways this experience influenced his career choices, but what stuck with me was his statement that he could accept the risks, the loss of colleagues and the extreme conditions by telling himself: “We are all in this together.” It seemed this reminder gave him solace and confidence in the future.
Tom first heard about Villages when he was spending many hours helping his ailing father in north Baltimore. He gained personal knowledge about how valuable a Village could be! He learned a great deal about policies and programs that aimed to benefit society through jobs with Catholic Charities, the Urban Institute and NPR. He provided expertise in data analysis, planning and fundraising for many decades. When he retired, he and his partner Bob began to really enjoy the richness of DC arts and music. And then, he heard again of our Village, active right in his neighborhood. He said again, “We’re all in this together” and decided to join as a member. How grateful we are!
Elizabeth Fox is a Village founder, member, and volunteer