Friday Feature: Tommy Wilson

Service with a smile
Tommy’s Story

Your name: Tommy Wilson

Your role at Volunteers of America Michigan: Lead Cook for Detroit Veterans Housing Program

What brought you to this position? I started cooking while I was in the United States Army Airforce Reserves, where I served for a total of 25 years. I spent five years in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom doing force protection. I would work 18 hours a day with the guys, making sure they were taken care of. After serving, I spent 7 years cooking at Cranbrook schools in Bloomfield Hills. Then I became a cook with the United States Army Tank Automotive Command and would prepare up to 8,000 meals a day. I found the position with Volunteers of America Michigan a little over a year ago and really wish I could have found it sooner. I love what I do. As a veteran myself, I love getting to help other veterans in need. I turn 60 in two years, and even after I retire I still plan on volunteering and at least working part time with the Detroit Veterans Housing Program (DVHP).

What is your biggest takeaway from working with Volunteers of America Michigan? I love getting to work with other veterans. I get to give back to my military family through two of the greatest things, food and friendship.

Where is your dream vacation spot? My dream vacation would be spending some time in Cold Lake, Canada.

What is your favorite book? “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

How do you spend your time outside of the office? I currently work two jobs, so when I am not at DVHP, I am working as a cook for a nearby bar and grill.

I started playing music when I was 16 years old, and still play as much as I can. I play with other veterans and friends fairly often. One day I would hope to see a band made up of veterans, playing around the state for our clients. I have read about studies that show how music has a way of providing relief for those with post-traumatic stress disorder. I would really like to get to be a part of that if possible.