Phoenix man receives award from Angels in the Neighborhood TV show

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For Phoenix resident Frank Thomas, giving back isn't something he does at the holidays or once in a while. It's a way of life.

Leaders with "Angels in the Neighborhood," a television show highlighting people with a commitment to others, are expected to present Thomas with the "Angel on Earth Award" on Friday, Sept. 26, at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club during a charity golf tournament he organized. The award recognizes "human angels" from across the country and highlights their work in their communities as a way to inspire others.

Thomas, 63, is estimated to have raised more than $1 million for various causes through charitable events he has organized, according to a press release.

Thomas wasn't always so committed to giving back to the community, however. It was the death of his first-born son, Ruben, to kidney cancer in 1975 and the support he received from the American Cancer Society that led to his charitable involvement.

"I was just overwhelmed by the generosity that was being offered to us and it kind of shaped my behavior," he said. "I had decided that paying it forward was just a good thing to do. It makes your heart sing."

Thomas began by donating blood, a practice he has continued to do every 45 days over the years. He then volunteered with organizations such as the March of Dimes and United Cerebral Palsy. Since then, he has organized numerous fundraisers, many of which have been golf tournaments, to benefit charities.

The tournaments usually have a theme tied to the charity it will benefit. For example, an upcoming tournament aiming to raise $100,000 for the 100 Club of Arizona will feature a hole-in-one contest, with a grand prize of $100,000.

Thomas' acts of kindness are not limited to events; they are an integral part of his Phoenix business, Thomas Auto Glass. Thomas said with every service, rather than offering a cash-back deal or free Omaha steaks, the company donates $50 to a charity, school or church of the customer's choice.

The causes Thomas supports are usually suggested by his customers, he said. If a customer is looking to support a charity, Thomas helps organize the event.

"How much impact can one person have? Well, how much they care to make," he said.