An Innovative Champion for Kids of All Abilities
Retired air force pilot and mechanical engineer, Tom Jeary, loves to solve problems. It turns out, children are the ones who have benefited the most from his innovative thinking and writing.
For nearly five decades, Tom has helped hundreds of children
and youth who may have struggled to achieve greater independence through his
customized devices, aids and adaptations. As a 30-year volunteer with
KidsAbility, he turns his time, talents and heart of gold into adapting everyday
devices so kids can fish, use a camera, operate a remote, ride a bike, or tie
their own shoelaces.
isn’t Tom’s only skill. His passion for photography, a shy resident chipmunk
affectionately named Chester, and some handmade miniature props were turned
into a self-published children’s book.
The Chipmunk Fall Fair follows Chester on a backyard adventure
shooting some hoops, lifting some weights and balancing on a tight wire to show
that he’s capable of doing anything he puts his mind to – much like the
children Tom has helped along the way.
The Chipmunk Fall Fair
can be ordered from Wordsworth Books in
Waterloo with proceeds directly supporting KidsAbility Foundation.
With a generous and altruistic spirit, Tom is well
known to many in Waterloo and beyond the region. Throughout the past 40 plus years,
he’s been recognized as Rotarian of the Year and Waterloo’s Citizen of the
Year, and has received the national King Clancy and Governor General’s Caring
Canadian Awards for enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities.
Most recently, Tom and his wife, Nancy, were honoured with
the Elaine Ormston Outstanding Supporter Butterfly Award—the highest honour
bestowed by KidsAbility Foundation annually for leading the way by creating a financial
legacy while making a lasting and remarkable impact on the lives of children
and youth and their families to achieve great things at home, at school and in