Tina Melo

How did you first hear about the counseling center and what made you originally decide to become involved?
My interest in NFCC began before it was officially established. When my late husband Tom was going through the difficult process of diagnosing his early-onset dementia, he met several times with St. Luke’s former pastor, Jim Moore. While mental health counseling would not have helped my husband, he spoke to me several times about his belief in the importance of faith-based counseling.

When St. Luke’s announced it was creating a counseling center, I called Dr. Linda Christians and offered to help as a way to honor my husband. By then, I had seen firsthand how counseling and support groups had helped my daughters and me deal with Tom’s horrific illness.

After the Finnegan family became committed to NFCC, my continued involvement was also a way to honor my daughters, who attended school with Nick and his sister, Terrell.

You served on our Advisory Board from 2013-2018. What are you most proud of the board and/or NFCC accomplishing during that time?
During my involvement on the advisory board, I was most proud of increasing knowledge in the community about NFCC and mental health counseling and supporting expansion of the wonderful NFCC staff. Also, those years included several personal losses for my family, and having a way to “serve” my church and community was a way to thank those who supported us.

Why is supporting affordable and accessible mental health so important to you?
My entire family has had access to excellent counseling over the past few years as we dealt with my husband’s dementia and later, other family health issues. When we need to pay for such counseling, we are blessed to have it “covered” or we can afford to pay for it. The blunt reality is most people cannot. Another problem is educating people about the availability of such care. NFCC is addressing both needs – it makes me very proud.

Where do you hope to see NFCC in the next five years?
While I may not have a vision for what NFCC should accomplish next, I look at their current leadership- my dear friends Jennifer {Bowen} and Todd {Greenwalt} for example- and have no doubt the future will hold many new goals AND accomplishments. I also love how the younger generation- Nick’s friends and young people who may have never met him but are committed to honoring him and NFCC’s mission – have become involved.