Paramedic, Phlebotomy, 1996
“I felt immediately welcome.”
Thomas received his bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College in 1974, then studied phlebotomy and paramedic training at HACC in 1996. He was selected as Preceptor of the Year by the HACC paramedic class of 2002. As a nontraditional learner, “I was worried that I was too old to go back to school. However, I felt immediately welcome.” In his opinion, HACC’s impact on the community is that it “offers a sense of hope and purpose.”
In the paramedic field, he was well known by hospital colleagues and distinguished himself as a dedicated and professional provider. He retired as a senior paramedic from WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital.
In his retirement, Thomas became a respected local artist whose watercolor works depict buildings and vignettes from Gettysburg's historic downtown and Gettysburg College. During the tourist season, Thomas can be found in bustling downtown Gettysburg painting local scenes and interacting with visitors. He also donates his art to important community fundraisers. The name ‘Tom Rooney’ is widely respected in both the Adams County healthcare community and art community.
Thomas has given back to HACC by exhibiting his artwork at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus and donating an iconic piece of art to its permanent collection. He also speaks proudly and publicly of his HACC education.
In addition, Thomas was instrumental in working with fellow Adams County citizens to launch the Gettysburg Green Gathering, a public festival to inspire and foster environmental stewardship.
In 2019, Thomas was honored with HACC’s highest alumni distinction – the HACC Distinguished Alumni Award. This award salutes the achievements of outstanding alumni who exemplify the HACC "spirit" with their personal lives, professional achievements and community service and serve as an inspiration to other alumni and current learners.