Tom Price, Supporting Education at GBMC
"My father made the three original cash donations to the hospital in 1971," Tom said, "and he wanted to create this fund in memory of his father. He left it up to the hospital as to how it was going to be used, but he was always interested in education, so the hospital decided they would create this award. The first two were given out in 1974 and my father was too sick to continue on with it, so I took over in 1976 and I've been doing it ever since."
Since its inception, the T. Rowe Price Family Education Fund has awarded 703 awards totaling $1.3 million to help GBMC employees complete their degrees. The Fund supplements GBMC's Tuition Reimbursement Program, helping employees with the ancillary costs of education, such as textbooks, technology and other fees. Tom believes there shouldn't be any barrier to employees getting a good education.
Selfishly, he wants those caring for him and his loved ones to be the best trained around, but he is also incredibly grateful to those who have cared for him during his hospital stays and thinks its important and necessary to give back.
"It's very meaningful for me because of being a patient," Tom said. "I have been a patient many times. Three of my 19 surgeries were at GBMC, and they were life-saving as far as the people here were concerned. You can't pay that back, but you can try. I'm still going with volunteering every year and I enjoy the heck out of it. I love volunteering, and have for 27 years."
Tom started out in the Gift Shop (Corner Shop) before moving to the Foundation in 1990, arriving at 5 a.m. five days a week to do data entry and gift processing, work that today is a full-time position. Tom happily did it for free. After 18 years, he moved to the Volunteer Office and still arrives at a respectable 7 a.m. two days a week to work the front desk.
He has tried volunteering at other places, but GBMC holds something special for Tom.
"It sounds hokey, but it's true," Tom said. "This hospital has a different flavor to it. I've been a patient at Hopkins, I've been a patient at Union Memorial, I've been a patient at York Hospital. And when you go in there as a patient, you know you're a patient, but you're treated like you're a number. When you come in here as a patient, this is more of a community, family-type of a hospital. You feel a lot closer to the people. I think you're treated better, I think it's friendly, it's more open and just the whole feel of it is just better. I think it leads to a better outcome as far as healthcare is concerned."
During his working years, Tom was a news director for a radio station in York, Pa. before transitioning to the other side of the aisle to work in public relations for York Hospital.
"I always thought it was kind of funny that I ended up in PR because many, many, many years ago," Tom said. "Back with the dinosaurs, I took – I guess you could call it an IQ test or something – to find out what I might be good at and what maybe I ain't so hot at. And the job they said I would absolutely be terrible at was public relations. Don't do it. So, that outfit doesn’t have a tremendous amount of credibility with me.
"You never know how things are going to work out."
He could say the same thing about meeting his wife of 54 years. While bidding his time before entering active duty for the Navy, Tom got a job as a mail boy in his father's office. In just a short six-month stint at the office, he met and courted a young executive assistant who would one day become his wife and travel partner.
The couple have one son, and to talk to Tom about them, it is clear they are his number one priority.
"I have had two goals most of my life," he said. "My first goal was to be a good husband. My second goal was to be a good father. And I have been told I met both of those goals, so I can't do any better than that. Everything else that I've done, purely secondary."
The hundreds of GBMC employees who have benefited from the Price Family Education Fund as well as the hundreds more who have come across him in his volunteer service would argue otherwise. But it is his self-effacing nature and humble attitude that make Tom the delightful volunteer he is. And GBMC is glad he ended up here.
On January 15, the newest cohort of GBMC employees were awarded scholarships from the T. Rowe Price Family Education Fund. Thirty-nine GBMC employees received an award this year, which supplements the GBMC Human Resources tuition reimbursement program and assists these employees with everything from tuition and books to computer equipment and lab fees. Since 1973, 703 awards totaling $1.3 million have helped GBMC employees complete their degrees.
GBMC is proud to offer this one-of-a-kind program for the benefit of some of our best and brightest employees thanks to the Price family, and most especially, volunteer Tom Price, who, in addition to his hours in the Volunteer Office, also lends an extraordinary amount of time to the selection and award efforts.