Tom Maloney was selected as a “Famous Arkansan” for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, only 1 of thirteen who has been recognized by Department of Human Services. Recently, Maloney was acknowledged by Governor Asa Hutchinson and state officials for his outstanding abilities.
Maloney has received living skills and vocational training through Opportunities, Inc. Adult Services program for over three decades. The organization claims he is a prime example of the the benefits and outcomes of their Adult Services program, excelling in many avenues.
Maloney lives in a single occupancy apartment in the Opportunities housing Complex and even holds a steady job at St. Edwards Catholic Church downtown. He is able to budget and grocery shop, drive, manage time effectively, but most unique is Maloney’s ability to express himself through painting.
Originally from New Mexico, Maloney uses vibrant colors to build his landscapes and animals. His oils are used in unique ways to create surreal hues in nature. He mixes his own colors to obtain his ideal paint palette. This talent for painting runs in the Maloney’s family, starting with his grandfather.
Maloney’s artwork garners him great attention, gaining him his own exhibit at Texas A&M University-Texarkana in previous years. His most requested work is the painting of the Opportunities boat. Another painting titled, Ratatouille, is a multi-colored mouse, inspired from his favorite film, Disney’s Ratatouille.
When asked what being “crowned” as a Famous Arkansan meant to him, Maloney said, “It means they’re helping me out and I’m helping them out. I’ve been here 32 years and they’ve helped me get into painting classes and get a job.”
Maloney moved to Texarkana in 1985 and has been a very active member of the community. He visits the Literacy Council and is a member of the Action Club. Most recently, he and his friends help raise funds at a Professional Bull Riding event for a girl in the hospital. He is constantly looking outside of himself and how to help others.
“Tom has contributed significantly to our community and we are so proud of him,” exclaimed Executive Director,Sherry Young.