living hope - use this one.JPG

Avril Thomas, left, John Thomas from Living Hope, Compassus – Tullahoma’s sister organization listen to Compassus employees Edie Rimas and Julia Logan – Mayes share stories about their trip to Cape Town, South Africa, home to the Thomas family and Living Hope.

This summer, Julia Logan-Mayes, Volunteer Coordinator at Compassus – Tullahoma, visited Cape Town, South Africa to  experience a week in the life of Compassus employees at their sister organization called Living Hope. The facility has a hospice unit as well as a free urgent care center for members of the community to visit when they need to.

“It was a life-changing experience for me,” Logan-Mayes said. “So when I heard that John and Avril Thomas, the couple that started Living Hope, were coming to Nashville for a conference, I knew I had to invite them down to see our office and tell their story and they accepted.” 

The founders of the nonprofit visited Tullahoma at The First Christian Church Annex to give a presentation on the organization itself and meet the Compassus – Tullahoma employees. Logan – Mayes knew the Thomas family would make an impact on her coworkers and guests.

John Thomas gave a presentation on how Living Hope was started. He explained the services that they regularly offer to locals as well as the conditions of Cape Town, South Africa. “We are so thankful for Compassus and their generous donations that we receive from them quarterly. Without their help, we simply could not do what we do for the people of Cape Town.”

Thomas talked about how all of the children meet in the Living Hope meeting place, near the center, where they sing songs, pray and play games before they go home in the evening. They also provide each child with a nutritious snack before they leave. Usually, they give out sandwiches, fruit, juice and other healthy snacks for free, a service they could not provide with the help of Compassus.

Compassus allows its employees to choose to take an amount of money out of their paycheck every pay period to donate to Living Hope, and the company matches the donations dollar for dollar. That money is what the company gives to Living Hope quarterly. 

Thomas explained that currently their worst problem was the drug epidemic in Cape Town. “We have children that are five and seven years old and addicted to meth,” Thomas said.

Avril Thomas took the stand to thank everyone for doing what they do for Compassus and making donations from their paychecks. She shared a lot of statistics on how well Living Hope is doing because of their sister company. She even shared that the organization is in talks of starting a new expansion program in 2020.

The couple were only able to stay in Tullahoma for a few hours, but made a huge impact on Compassus employees’ lives by being able to hear all the good that their donations do.

“I am so happy that they were able to come and meet our staff,” Logan – Mayes said. “I feel like this was a moral boost for my company. They were actually able to meet and hear about all of the good we do for Living Hope.”

Katelyn Lawson may be reached at

Recommended for you