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Founder and President, Seniorcorp
Governor’s appointee, Commonwealth of Virginia Council on Human Rights
Society of Certified Senior Advisors
Alzheimer’s Association and Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, Regent University and William Tyndale College, Board Member
We Care America, 2002 Chairman
Former VP - Marketing, CBN
Former VP - Marketing, Dish Network
Graduate, George Mason University; Graduate Work,
CBN.com And God Said…
Tom Knox was happily and successfully working in the CBN ministry as a vice president in marketing. Though his responsibilities with telethon and other ministry areas were demanding, he enjoyed the challenge and seemed cut out to manage this part of the ministry. But about two-and-a-half years into his five-year tenure, Tom says he began to realize that in spite of how well things were going, CBN would not be the place from which he would retire. There was something more for him to do.
As the thoughts of what might be next for him would come up in his mind, Tom would ponder some life events that seemed to be unfinished. Tom had watched and participated with his parents in supporting his aging grandparents in their final years. A painful event for Tom’s whole family happened to his grandmother while she was a resident of a nursing home. One night his grandmother fell while getting out of bed. Though she rang the buzzer, no one came. When her family discovered her on the floor nearly 13 hours later, she had had a heart attack and was in bad shape. The family took her home. Even though the task of providing care and working with all the companies and agencies involved in elder care was overwhelming, Tom's family knew she was better off with family than in the uncaring “system” available for elder care. Though Tom’s family cared for his grandmother to the end, his mom suffered greatly under the responsibility of it all.
Before his time with CBN, Tom lived and worked in Japan. He says it was in Japan that he saw how families were supposed to run. He says it was not uncommon to go to a home and discover as many as four generations living together under one roof, all of them caring for and helping one another. In his mind, he would contrast what he saw there to what his family had gone through with his own grandparents and to the reactions of Americans to their own aging population. Tom was aware that things just weren’t right.
A Clear Call
Through his work at CBN, Tom met Ann Henbrook, also a marketing professional. In a meeting, Tom heard her say that the rising senior population was the biggest happening on the horizon and that America was woefully unprepared to have a large, elder population. Ann strongly encouraged Tom to read a book called The Age Wave by Ken Dietchwald. Ann explained that much of her understanding had come from this book.
Tom searched for two weeks straight to find the book. He visited bookstores and searched the Internet, but there was no book to be found. Not long after, God wakened him from his sleep. “Get up!” It was 3 a.m. So he got up and attempted some prayer. After a little while, he went back to sleep only to be wakened again at 4 a.m.. This time it was, “Get up and turn on the TV.” So at 4:01 a.m. Tom sat in front of C-Span listening to a man speaking. The man speaking was Ken Dietchwald, and he was talking about The Age Wave. Tom says after outlining the coming problems of an increasing senior population, Ken looked right into the camera and said, “Someone needs to start a Senior Corp.” It would be three more years before God would release Tom to pursue his passion, but that night he knew he had heard something significant for his future.
The day finally came when Tom could stand it no longer. After nights of tortured prayer trying to get a handle on what he was to be doing, Tom announced to his wife and pregnant mother of his one-and-a-half-year-old child that he was quitting his job as vice president, liquidating all their assets, and buying a medical supply company.
At first Tom thought the medical supply company might be the place to which God was calling him. But fairly soon he realized that it was actually the training ground where he would learn the intricacies of government agencies connected to the elderly, the vantage point from which he would observe good families trying so hard to serve their loved ones. For Tom, he went from a great job, nice office, and regular paycheck to driving a truck delivering adult diapers and equipment and having weeks go by when there was no profit from which to draw a salary.
Seniorcorp is Born
After working in the medical supply business and gaining a wealth of knowledge about insurance, government, and private support agencies and systems, Tom’s initial training phase seemed to be wrapped up and his vision clarified. Three years ago, Tom opened the doors to Seniorcorp, a business dedicated to providing all the services to seniors and their families to help people remain independent, navigate the medical and long-term care system, and remain at home as long as possible.
Most important to Tom is reminding himself of the many signs along the way that God directed him to do this and that his passion has been to do this for a long time. He says, “It won’t always be easy. There will be good days and bad. During those times, if you don’t know that God called you, it can be pretty difficult to hold on."
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