Carry the Future first spotlighted Tom Cartwright in March 2018. A man of compassion, he’s proving that men are needed and valued in the humanitarian effort to do so much good for refugees.
Tom has been on a total of 5 trips for Carry the Future, most recently to a Catholic Charities respite center for asylum seekers in McAllen, TX.
Semi-retired, Tom explains with a laugh, he has time to devote himself to the humanitarian efforts he always cared about. Tom worked for JP Morgan for 38 years, traveling and working long hours.
“It didn’t leave a lot of time to be actively engaged, but I always had an interest and a passion towards social justice causes.” Tom explains. He continues warmly, “I always felt it was a bit of my responsibility to do for people who didn’t have as much as I did.”
Tom is certainly making up for lost time with the great work he is doing for Carry the Future.
He says that what he really values in his work for Carry the Future is the one-on-one connection with the people he helps. He shares an anecdote from McAllen, Texas, where he and fellow volunteer Susannah Monteith recently spent time helping asylum seekers. They were able to give simple luxuries like hair bands to asylum seekers, whose bands and shoelaces were confiscated by ICE. Tom would give each child a star sticker and tell them that they were a star.
“Their smile made the 100 degree weather worth it,” says Tom. “There is always more work to do, and it can feel hopeless because no one can do it all, but then another bus full of people to help pulls up and you become energized.” He says that there were times he was able to see asylum seekers who were processed leaving the center, ready to start their new life. He found hope from those people.
“As difficult as the position these folks are in, they are kind and respectful. They’re no different than anyone else.”
Tom echoes the values of Carry the Future when he says, “Not everyone can go away on a trip, but everyone can do something.” He says there are many good people out there who want to help, but they just don’t know how. “Everything helps.”
He explains that doing something can be talking to and educating neighbors about social issues, getting involved politically, or sending money to organizations like Carry the Future.
Tom is a father to two grown daughters. He reflects on their childhood: “My children had so many advantages, it often feels like you’ll never equalize that for the people we help, but we can bring them some joy and hope.”
One can almost hear his heart in his gentle words.
Tom wishes there were more men engaged in the humanitarian efforts. “I wish I did more when I was working,” he ponders. “I probably could have found more ways to help.”
There’s a pregnant pause as he searches for the right words. “Humanitarian work shouldn’t be done just by women. Men should and can do this work. The men I see do this work are tremendously fulfilled.”
Thank you, Tom for being a man who responds to the refugee crisis with diligence and determination.
To all the fathers out there, those fighting for the lives of their families, or those doing the hard work that people like Tom are doing, Happy Father’s Day!
Click here to find out how you can do something to help refugees!