Rebecca Thomley: Making a Difference in New Orleans

Astonishing. That’s the only word I can think of to describe Rebecca Thomley‘s commitment to serving others in need. I interviewed Rebecca, the CEO of Orion Associates, a Minnesota-based management services company, and feel privileged to share her spirit and passion with others. Here is her story.

Rebecca Thomley

Volunteering has always been part of my life. As a clinical psychologist with a background in trauma response, I started working with the Red Cross Mental Health Stress Team in 1992 to respond to the mental health needs of people in disasters. When I flew to the Ninth Ward area of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was the first time in a disaster response that I didn’t feel like I could go home. There were still people in their homes who had no food or water. There were still elderly people who didn’t have their medication. In the past, I would leave a Red Cross assignment knowing that services would be coming to people in need and that there would be someone else coming in to take my place. This time, I knew that getting services to these people might be up to me. I stayed a couple of weeks and then returned with a team of Orion employees a few weeks later. Since then, we’ve brought in more than 600 volunteers to work in New Orleans.

That second trip prompted me to begin Headwaters Relief Organization, a 501(c)(3) that operates under the umbrella of Orion Associates. We run the River of Hope Mental Health Resource Center in New Orleans that provides free services. We’re one of the few organizations that are still helping in New Orleans. We stayed long after the focus shifted from New Orleans’ recovery because it’s the right thing to do and it’s going to create a better world for all of us. Today, through Headwaters, we also send teams into Haiti as well as throughout the Midwest whenever disaster strikes.

My renewed dedication to volunteering after Hurricane Katrina also dramatically changed the focus of Orion Associates. Before then, there may have been three-month gaps between our volunteering commitments. Today, there is not a time when we’re not engaged in volunteer activities. We live and breathe it. We decided that we were going to be the kind of organization that, rather than drawing profits out of the company, we would direct them back into the community. It is costly to do this work, but that only makes us more determined. Our mission is making this a better community for all of us and everyone we serve.

Click here to learn how you can help Headwaters Relief Organization keep the River of Hope Mental Health Resource Center in New Orleans open for another year.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to OR order from Amazon at OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.

SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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