Richard Thompson just bought a house. And a family car last year.
“Things are happening in my life that I never thought would be possible,” said Thompson, PHCNW Landscape Supervisor. Considering Thompson’s uphill battle to his current position at PHC, we can see what he means.
In December 1997, Thompson’s life changed forever. One night, while crossing a street in Gresham, he recalls hearing a horn and turning his head to find the TriMet Max train bearing down upon him. Unable to move in time to avoid the train, Thompson was struck, landing face down on the tracks. By the time first responders arrived he had been dragged under the car and was barely alive. When he arrived at the hospital, surgeons were amazed to find him clinging to life. He had lost a thumb, broken several bones and sported major bruising on his entire body, but incredibly, he sustained no life-threatening internal injuries.
After the long recovery period, Thompson was intent on taking full advantage of this new chance at life. He solicited Vocational Rehab services and enrolled in parenting classes. He practiced personal skills that helped him focus and stay on track. He turned to PHC Northwest to help him find employment. During his time in the landscape training program he cultivated valuable employment skills. “It taught me responsibility, how to be on time, and how to be where I need to be,” explained Thompson. “That last one was particularly difficult,” he chuckled.
After spending time working with other Qualified Rehabilitation Facilities, Thompson returned to PHC Northwest 11 years later as a landscape supervisor. “I believe that PHC is a really special place because it was what first taught me how to be responsible, how to pay my bills on time. It’s what got me getting me up at 5am and starting my day off right.” He now serves as the supervisor at sites like the City of Gresham, the City of Tigard, and Albertina Kerr facilities.
“Employees that come here can expect PHC to be challenging but rewarding,” said Thompson. He can say this not just from experience but also because he himself is committed to helping employees learn and grow. He proudly recounts how he has helped develop leadership traits in several PHCNW landscaping employees, directing them down the path of long-term success. “This is not a job, this is a career,” stated Thompson.
So what’s next for Richard Thompson? Well, maybe a vacation somewhere in the tropics. He’s been there already and wishes to return. But first and foremost, he hopes to leave a legacy.
“When the end comes, I want people to remember me as a person who was always willing to help people and go the extra mile. Someone willing to give back. I’m truly blessed to be here.”