“A good feeling inside you know to help somebody that can’t really help themselves,” says Thomas Carter, Direct Support Professional (DSP).

“He’s a very hard, reliable, dependable worker. He’s on time. He takes interest and concern in each one of his individuals. He meets their needs every day.” says Doris Bind, License Practical Nurse. 

From a very young age, it was instilled in Thomas Carter to help others when his mother worked for the East Central Regional Hospital– better known as Gracewood. 

Carter says this inspired him to work there as well. 

“My mother used to work there, and she used to bring the clients home to visit. And I kind of got to know them and what they was about, because they were special needs clients, and it went from there,” says Thomas Carter. 

Thomas starts his mornings off by visiting the group home to provide 24-hour care to four of his patients. Throughout the day he assists them with their personal hygiene, eating, and other lifestyle activities. Lending a hand is second nature to Carter, but the beginning stages came with challenges in communicating with those who used sign language. 

“So I had to go to different classes and take sign language.Then I learned a lot about how to make their gestures and how they make their sign languages and how to listen,” says Thomas Carter. 

Earlier this month, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) named carter the recipient of the “2019 Relationship” award. It is for his 41 years of work and dedication. 

“It made me feel real good. It made me feel like what I did over the years really paid off. Somebody recognize the work that I’ve done. I take work with these individuals very serious,” says Thomas. 

Besides the hurdles, seeing these individuals improve and their happiness keeps him going. 

“He greets them, he talks to them, he always has a smile on his face. It’s never a dull moment he going to have a smile on his face,” says Temeake Lowe, House Manager for RHA.