“I thought that helping others was cool,” said Anthony Jr.
Adrian Thomas, now 20, also contributed to helping the family as it helped others.
“Contributing part of my part-time job money to the household was what I was supposed to do to help others,” Adrian Thomas said. “We did not have a television, cellphones or electronics, but we knew helping others get back on their feet was more important than all the material things we could get in the store.”
Taking what they have been taught, Ieshia, the oldest daughter, is using her talents in an attempt to benefit Oklahoma tornado victims; she's working on a benefit CD.
Robert Ojemann, who found himself homeless after living in roach-infested housing with gas leaks and the water turned off at NE 28 and Martin Luther King Avenue, gave credit to Thomas for helping him out when he was in a jam.
“What is a true Christian? Anthony Thomas, humble with a big heart and always a smile on his face,” Ojemann said. “We were living on the street when I ran into Anthony near the downtown transit center.”
Ojemann and Thomas had become friends at Abundant Life Church, and had not seen each other for a while. Anthony invited him to stay at his home. Now, Ojemann and his wife Hannah live in Norman with their 2 month old baby.
A current resident of the Thomas home likewise praised Thomas's generosity.
“Thank God for Anthony and his family. I appreciate all their support as I get my life back together,” said Cordell Medlock, the last resident at the Thomas home. He has been there almost three years.
Thomas's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Anita Arnold, executive director of BLAC Inc., nominated Anthony for a White House award recognizing regular people for doing extraordinary things to help their community. Whether or the White House recognizes him, his children, friends and community recognize his efforts as a great human being, and on this day a great father.