“My job is simply to restore my patients’ dignity. I give them independence, and in return they give me an exciting reason to come to work everyday.”
Tina Montgomery is a classic case of corporate downsizing being a blessing in disguise.
Tina earned her bachelors in physical education, but somehow ended up owning video stores and working in the banking industry instead.
At the age of 24, Tina watched her mother lose her battle with cancer. During the treatment process, she witnessed Occupational Therapists working with her mother to provide her with tools to give her dignity and a better quality of life. Tina was fascinated and forever changed by this experience.
After her mother’s death on March 18, 1986, she and her sister began a volunteer hospice program in her memory. The Fitzgibbon Mary Montgomery Hospice is still a non-profit hospice that is part of the Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall, MO today. It was one of the first hospice centers in the state of Missouri to receive Medicare certification in 1993 and is highly respected in the region.
Tina spent the next 17 years in banking working in nearly every position available. Unfortunately, she ended up a mortgage loan officer in 2009 when the housing bubble burst and was downsized rather quickly.
By that point, Tina was a breast cancer survivor herself, a single mom with a 11-year-old son and she decided it was time to quit daydreaming about being an Occupational Therapist and find a program to enter.
She found MACC’s program through the Missouri Health Professions Consortium on our website and eagerly began classes. Tina graduated with the Consortium’s first OTA class in 2010 and has been in heaven ever since. She is now changing lives and restoring dignity and quality of life everyday to the patients at Golden Living Rehab in Mexico, MO.
One of her special patients, Frank Kramer, 86, said, “Before Tina, I was a quadriplegic looking for a way to do myself in. I just wanted to die. She worked with me for hours a day and gave me many stern talks about how I could make it. Now I’m walking and moving just like the next guy.”
Tina is giving people a reason to live, and they are giving her the joy she has been longing to have everyday since 1986. Tina gives back to the OTA program every year, by speaking to prospective and current students, assisting MHPC with the interviewing process.