The recently retired leader of a faith-based nonprofit agency said he didn't expect to be with the organization for a long time.
But after 28 years, Tim O'Connor chuckled as he thought about his initial assumptions about leading Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City.
“I thought I would be here for a few years, then I'd move on,” he said.
O'Connor, 65, said instead of leaving he “grew into the position” and realized there was no place else he would rather be.
“After I was here for a few years, I thought ‘what would I do and where would I go if not here?'” he said.
O'Connor came to Oklahoma in 1971 after having worked for the state of Wyoming for seven years in the area of mental health.
He said he worked for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health for four years before joining Catholic Charities in 1985.
The nonprofit was small at the time, he said, but the need was great. O'Connor quickly realized that social services agencies like Catholic Charities help improve the quality of life in the community and are as vital to the metro area as large corporations.
The longtime agency leader said he always considered his work at Catholic Charities as a type of ministry, a way to fulfill the mission of Catholic social teaching. He said several aspects of his career stand out in his mind.
He said he is grateful for the agency's many volunteers who worked alongside staff members over the years to help those in need.
“Each person has a responsibility. We are all connected,” O'Connor said. “That's what Catholic Charities is all about. It says this work belongs to the people.”