Above: BVC President Bill Pierce, left, presents Steve Thomas the Will and Nora Baskett Legacy of Love Award. Thomas has served with BVC for 37 years, currently as senior vice president­­—operations.

There are no coincidences when it comes to people God has called to serve. It is up to them to rise up and answer that call, no matter what challenges and dangers they may face.

Baptist Village Communities (BVC) is beyond blessed to honor a faithful leader who has answered this important call for more than 37 years. Steve Thomas was presented with the Will and Nora Baskett Legacy of Love Award at the BVC Board of Directors Meeting on August 10. The award is BVC’s highest honor.

The Basketts were truly pioneers in the aging services field and highly influential in establishing Baptist Village Communities in 1958. They humbly gave their time and resources to enhance the lives of Oklahoma’s senior adults.

This same sacrificial spirit is embodied by Steve Thomas.

Thomas started his BVC journey in 1984 at Baptist Village of Hugo where, interestingly, Baptist Village Communities began 63 years ago. He eventually worked his way to leading as campus director until 1994. It was then that God called him to lead in the same capacity at Baptist Village of Owasso, BVC’s largest campus. He served in this role until 2005, when God again led him to Oklahoma City as BVC director of operations.

Thomas now serves exceedingly well as senior vice president–operations for Baptist Village Communities.

“Mr. Thomas is truly a dedicated servant. He is a very talented leader and serves the long-term care profession with great distinction,” said Bill Pierce, BVC president.

Eddie Miller agrees. A long-time member of the BVC Board of Directors and current chairperson, Miller understands the important calling to minister to those in need. He serves as co-founder, president and CEO of Bios Companies Inc., which provides people with life-changing services and opportunities.

“It is no surprise to me Mr. Thomas received this award. His commitment to this very important ministry is evident in the love he provides each day,” Miller said. “Seniors in Oklahoma benefit from his commitment and leadership. He elevates the care for all.”

Never has protecting Oklahoma’s senior adults been more challenging than in the last year and a half. Pierce recalled, “The challenges of the virus changed the operational needs of BVC in dramatic ways. Every health care organization in the country suddenly needed a leader who dedicated themselves to navigating through extremely rough waters. Mr. Thomas is that leader for BVC. He has provided dedicated, outstanding leadership in every way.”

Thomas said he was sincerely humbled to receive the award. Ever the selfless servant, he is quick to give credit to the team he serves with. “I see it as a team award,” he said, “and I represent many, many BVC team members who have served sacrificially during this pandemic. The real heroes in this story are the frontline caregivers who have pushed through their own fears, putting the good of others above their own.”

Thomas served wholeheartedly during the darkest times of the pandemic—including in the trenches alongside the frontline caregivers. But as God often does, He used the trials and tribulations to strengthen perseverance and faith among the team.

“God has shown up for us over and over and has been in every detail as we manage every crisis. He has met every need,” Thomas said. “We’ve been in a vice. And I think that being under this kind of pressure for so long has been transformative for us as individuals and as teams. In the end, God put the team together that was needed for a time such as this. God has not allowed us to be overwhelmed or overcome. He has made us stronger…together.”

Baptist Village Communities is stronger because of the many faithful servants sacrificing humbly every day—servants like Steve Thomas. BVC is truly grateful.