By Mary Penna/ECHO Tom Billings loves his city, and it loves him back. (Photo: Mary Penna/ECHO) Note: This is one piece of a mul...

Faces of ECHO: Tom Billings

By Mary Penna/ECHO

Tom Billings loves his city, and it loves him back.
(Photo: Mary Penna/ECHO)

Note: This is one piece of a multi-part series meeting the personalities that make ECHO special.

“Living it. Loving it. Never Leaving it. O.N.E.” reads Tom Billings’ tattoo. He has lived in the Old North End Burlington neighborhood 45 of his 49 years.

To say that he takes pride in where he lives is the ultimate understatement. He knows his neighbors personally, cares for the neighborhood, and every winter he shovels the sidewalks so that kids can easily walk to and from school every day.

Billings is thankful for everything that Burlington has to offer. “When I go on vacation, three or four days are enough for me” he said. “I always just want to come back.” The free concerts, fishing on the Winooski River, the wildlife seen around town – he loves it all.

As custodian at ECHO, Billings’ passion for his community reaches far beyond its streets. While others are still asleep, he is working, from 3 a.m. until after noon, often seven days a week, and always with a smile. He loves knowing that ECHO is clean and ready for all guests, staff, and volunteers.

“I believe everyone should be able to get the same experience,” he said, “everyone should come to ECHO knowing that they’re going to have a great time.”
When others might complain about the long, intense night hours, Billings celebrates the fact that he has all afternoons free to spend with his four beloved dogs. He jokes that he has every day off.
He has nothing bad to say about his work, and it is immediately clear that his primary goal is to make those around him happy.

A true local, Billings glows each time he mentions his hometown. He raves about the atmosphere, his work, and Burlington’s incredible community.
Many of his favorite memories occurred as the day is just beginning, things he alone sees from ECHO.

Billings watches the otters play on the ice during the winter and has counted six eagles over the past few years. These rare sights keep his job feeling fresh and exciting. He is never bored. In the summer when he’s not working, he stays active by biking, barbecuing, and fishing with his son and father.
His passion, dedication, and zest for life shows through with everything he does, especially with his family.

Billings has two sons, both nearby, one in Georgia and the other in South Burlington. To support them he worked three jobs, once clocking 35 hours in a single shift.

He also has six brothers and two sisters. 13 people lived in one house as he grew up, sharing three beds in very few rooms. Being a part of such a large family, he understood the importance of helping and supporting the others, no matter the circumstance. This comes through still today, in the dedication and love for his community.

Billings radiates a passion for life. His constant excitement for his work and staff interaction makes his positive energy infectious. Everyone at ECHO looks forward to being greeted by his warm smile in the morning.

Check back next week to meet Cat Viglienzoni.

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