The Virginia Institute of Autism is proud to present the second annual Stephen B. Perry Award for Outstanding Service to People with Autism to Tom McQueeney.
McQueeney served on VIA’s Board of Directors from 1997 to 2010. He worked tirelessly to make sure VIA was helping as many people who needed services as possible.
McQueeney told the crowd at VIA’s 17th Annual Gala he usually serves only one term on an organization’s board because he doesn’t want to contribute to still ponds. He said he stayed with VIA for 13 years because the organization was continually moving forward. McQueeney remains committed to sharing the impact of evidence-based practice with the community.
McQueeney participates in the Run for Autism 5K and sponsors the Gala every year. Many parents think of him as a cheerful and understanding Santa Claus, unlike some Santas at the mall who were not as sensitive to the challenges that come with autism. When McQueeney dressed up as Santa for the students at VIA, some would run up and sit on his lap. Others would stand in the back and stare at him. Either way was just fine with McQueeney. He let them be themselves, and seemed to enjoy every minute.
McQueeney had a successful publishing company, and one of his employees had a child diagnosed with autism. He referred the family to VIA, and that child was the first student to graduate from VIA and go on to succeed in typical school settings. He now attends college.
Fellow former board member and Perry Award winner Mark Lorenzoni presented the award to McQueeney at VIA’s Gala.
The award is presented by Virginia National Bank in memory of its former CFO & COO Stephen B. Perry, who served on VIA’s Board of Directors for 8 years. The Stephen B. Perry Award celebrates his work and honors someone who is carrying it on. Perry’s daughter, Megan Morris, told the crowd her father loved serving alongside the other selflessly dedicated and passionate board members.
“My dad didn’t have autism in his family,” said Morris, “but VIA became his family.”