Giving Back to RS EDEN

A profile of Tom Thompson

Life has not been a straight line for Tom Thompson. “The staff at RS EDEN gave me an opportunity to change my life. And I took advantage of it,” remarks Thompson. “Looking back over the last 27 years, I feel a great deal of gratitude for RS EDEN. We all need a little help sometimes and they were there when I needed them.”

In August 1990, Thompson was furloughed to Eden House for a six-month residential treatment program. With the help of staff, residents, and previous graduates, he made his way through the program and came out the other side. In 1991, Thompson met some Eden House graduates who were living in sober housing and formed solid friendships. After a series of part-time jobs painting rental properties with David Lindstrom-Grisso’s, the two men opened A Fresh Look painting company. “Neither of us had much to lose, so we went for it. A year later we had our first employee and within a year we had four. Lindstrom-Grisso died in 2006 of liver cancer, but Thompson has carried on the business. It has continued to grow and change and now focuses on apartments and home renovations. Thompson maintains an affinity for hiring Eden graduates.

“Whenever possible I try to give back to Eden House." Thompson sponsors a few men in the residential program and attends first Friday events to talk about his experiences and encourage others to share their own. “I establish boundaries up front. I will not lend you money, I will not employ you. Don’t call me drunk or high. But if you do your work, I will be here for you. In fact, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to support you.”

Thompson remarks that he remains close to a number of people from Eden House. “Some of my best friendships are with Eden graduates and I am blessed to have them.”