Be the Change: Pam Thomason

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After returning to college in 1999, Redding’s Pam Thomason landed a career she loves at the Disability Action Center (DAC). Born legally blind herself, Pam helps senior citizens who are losing their vision remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible.

Pam provides adaptive aids, resources, counseling and advice to seniors who aren’t simply her clients, but also her friends, says Deborah Uhl, who works with Pam as DAC’s Assistive Technology Coordinator.

“Pam is truly a resource for the people she serves,” says Teresa Evans, DAC’s Traumatic Brain Coordinator. “She’s an amazing person, and she’s very giving.”

Wendy Hord, Senior Communications Specialist, said when she goes to care facilities, the residents always ask about Pam. “They speak very highly of her. She’s really bonded with them.”

When Pam isn’t working, she’s volunteering as a board member for Shascade Community Services, an organization primarily serving adults who have disabilities. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking on the beautiful trails of Northern California. She relishes “spoiling” her two youngest granddaughters, 9-year-old Maddie and 6-year-old Claire. She also spends time walking her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Penny and Polly, and playing with her cat, Pepper, that she rescued from DAC’s parking lot.

We asked Pam to tell us more about herself, and this is what she had to say:

Pam Thomason (left) with two members of the devoted Disability Action Center team: Jade Buckley (center), program specialist, and Deborah Uhl (right), technology coordinator. Pam says a good rapport is key to their positive work environment.

Pam Thomason (left) with two members of the devoted Disability Action Center team: Jade Buckley (center), program specialist, and Deborah Uhl (right), technology coordinator. Pam says a good rapport is key to their positive work environment.

What is your education and background?

I was born in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1952, where I graduated from Belding High School in 1971. In 1982 we relocated to Redding because of the poor job market in Michigan. In 1999, I went back to college after my divorce. I graduated from Shasta College with an AA and a certificate in Gerontology. In 2003 I graduated from Chico State with a BA in Social Science and a minor in Gerontology.

I had two daughters who both graduated from Shasta High School. One moved back to Michigan, received an accounting degree, and had three children. Unfortunately, she was taken from us at an early age in 2009. My oldest daughter graduated from UCLA. She is married and has three stepchildren as well as two beautiful daughters and works as a surgical nurse at Shasta Surgical Eye Center.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of my family and their accomplishments. I am proud that I was able to go back to school, graduate, and find a career doing exactly what I wanted to do. I was born legally blind due to Partial Ocular Albinism. The Department of Vocational Rehab helped me achieve my educational goal. Because of the legal blindness and the degree in gerontology I have found the perfect fit working with blind seniors. I am grateful to Dr. Martin, the Low Vision Specialist in Redding, who made it possible for me to drive. I had never driven until 1999, when he prescribed bioptic glasses which enable me to drive. It opened up a whole new world.

Who inspires you?

My daughter Anne has always been an inspiration to me. I am also inspired by the many seniors that I help through my job. They have fantastic stories and positive attitudes about life and continue to adapt to their vision loss and the aging process. I have a few clients who are over 100 years of age and still are sharp and living on their own.

What is your life’s goal?

My goal is to be able to help others for as long as possible and to be strong and healthy enough to watch my grandchildren grow up and achieve their goals.

What is the one moment in your life that stands out above all others?

Being present with my oldest daughter and her husband while my granddaughter Maddie was born. It was amazing to give birth to my first child, but to watch and help my daughter give birth to her first was life changing. I was so proud and happy to be a part of that experience.

What are your favorite quotes?

“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do,” said John Ruskin. Also, Maya Angelou’s quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

About the Disability Action Center

The Disability Action Center has been serving the needs of people with disabilities since 1980 in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties. To reach Pam, call (530) 242-8550.

The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature community members from the North State who are actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com.

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Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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