In October, guests who attended Sound’s annual fundraiser, IMAGINE, sat transfixed as Thomas Green quietly and humbly stood in the spotlight and shared his life story of struggle, loss, homelessness, perseverance, and triumph.
At its conclusion, more than 400 people gathered around Thomas Green, applauding, rewarding his courage with a four-minute standing ovation. The assembly was deeply moved by Tom’s account of overcoming homelessness, earning five college degrees, and ultimately choosing to work helping others navigate their struggles by joining the Sound team five years ago first as a Housing Case Manager and now as a Clinician, working with the Adult Recovery Services Team at Tukwila West campus.
Thomas Green is the very definition of a profile in courage.
Although raised in chaos, Green is a gentleman; soft-spoken, confident, curious and thoughtful. He speaks, reads and writes Korean, inspired to learn because, while in the Army, he met and fell beguiled for a young lady, at a dance, who only spoke Korean.
“I couldn’t talk to her or even ask what her name was! I needed to learn her language!” Laughed Green. “I taught myself to read, write and speak Korean. I got books and studied and practiced until I was fluent. I didn’t marry her, but learning Korean helped me move forward in my military career.”
Green served his country using his language skills for several years and is now serving people who come to Sound for support. Green is especially proud to work with veterans and the homeless. Having experienced the same struggles, he has a deep understanding of their experiences.
Green recalls a veteran in his care having a “lightbulb moment”. “I had been working with this veteran who was very introverted. We were talking, and he got very quiet – introspective – thinking. Then he took a long, deep breath and with a burst of clarity he said, ‘I feel so much better! Thank you!’ Those kinds of moments – where you work with someone to define a problem, talk it through and then understand it… those are the moments that really make the work great.”
Sound Housing Program Manager Annamaria Gueco agrees that Tom is excellent in working with all people – especially veterans.
A student of life, Green loves to learn. He holds five degrees, including one masters degree, a bachelors degrees and 2 associates degrees.
“I came out of grad school with more questions than ever!” he jokes. “I’m always studying something; Jung, Freud, philosophy, metaphysics, quantum physics, and comparative religions. I’m always trying to make sense of everything!”
Green is a devoted patron of the Seattle Symphony, attending at least 4 times every year. He’s looking forward to seeing Seattle Symphony’s 2020 lineup.
“Music eases my mind and brings me a sense of peace. The world can be a chaotic place. The symphony is like many voices coming together, put in order by the conductor,” says Green. “People all playing different instruments together from the same musical score creates beautiful music. I leave the symphony feeling calm and renewed! Like I have fresh air for my whole body and soul!”
Thomas lives an active, thoughtful life in Seattle with his two Siberian huskies, Mandi and Millie. Green is a member of the Seattle K9 Scooters NW club.
“My dogs keep me active!” says Green. “I need to stay healthy so I can learn and grow and help other people.”
Here is Thomas Green’s 2019 IMAGINE presentation: