Caring Voice

Close up: Tracy Downing

tracy downing

I am a born and bred Texan. I grew up in the Dallas area and lived there until age 30. During that time, I earned a degree in political science from the University of North Texas in Denton, a suburb of Dallas. After four or five years in banking, I moved to Virginia Beach, Va., to attend law and graduate school at Regent University.

While at Regent, I became friends with someone who knew of an organization called Caring Voice Coalition (CVC) with an opening on its board. Based on the basic information I had about CVC, I was interested in joining, and called for more information. After learning more about CVC’s missions and goals, CVC sounded liked an organization that I definitely wanted to be involved with. Here we are 12 or so years later, and everything CVC has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous.

After I finished my graduate and law degrees and passed the bar exam, I moved to the Washington, D.C., area to work as a contracting officer with the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

I’ve always been a big history buff. So when I lived in Virginia and D.C., I visited probably every Civil War site across the commonwealth. I also enjoy playing golf, anything outdoors, classical music, being involved in church activities, traveling and going to movies. My wife, Cheryl, and I love to go ballroom dancing when we have the chance. We met in Augusta, Ga., in 2008, where I moved to work as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). We now live in Nashville, Tenn., where I took another attorney position with the VA in 2011.

Here we are 12 or so years later, and everything CVC has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous.

I have continued to serve on the CVC board all these years because it is a service I can do, along with the other board members, to find assistance and resources for patients with serious health conditions. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a debilitating illness like those that CVC services, and I’ve never witnessed firsthand what it is like for a family member to experience one either. My work with CVC gives me pride and joy knowing that in some way I’ve helped someone’s family navigate their way through trying to care for a loved one with a disease.

When we have the opportunity to meet patients, Cheryl and I sit and visit with them, and they sometimes assume we’re patients too. But when they find out we aren’t, and that I’m on the board, the number of compliments and praise I receive for what CVC does is amazing. Cheryl is a counselor and has enjoyed my involvement with CVC especially because of the relationships she has been able to form with patients. Cheryl also finds their strength and courage impressive and inspiring.

I have also enjoyed getting to know all the patients we’ve met throughout the years and listening to what their challenges, hopes and dreams are. And I’ve come to value the friendships I have made with the other board members.

Lastly, to give an idea of how far CVC has come in just these 12 short years, I still remember how one of the first board meetings I attended was held in a small conference room at a hotel. And seeing CVC grow from that space to what it has now become—helping more people, growing its employees and securing its own facility—is nothing short of miraculous. It has been so rewarding to see how far the organization has come in the last 12 years. I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of it, and I look forward to the next 12 years, and the next.

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