If you want to get Tim Terrio to do something, tell him it’s not possible. That’s what motivated him to go to college, even though his parents and high school counselor didn’t think it was a viable option for him.
He initially set out to study agricultural business, but quickly realized it wasn’t for him. That’s when he switched to prephysical therapy and eventually athletic training.
The second of four children, he was the only one in his family to graduate college and leave his native Montana. In fact, he holds four degrees – a bachelor’s and a master’s in athletic training, as well as a bachelor’s and doctorate in physical therapy.
In 1989, he was working for the L.A. Dodgers’ minor league system when they sent him to Bakersfield to be the athletic trainer for the Bakersfield Dodgers. He moved to Indiana to complete his master’s degree but moved back to Bakersfield in 1993 and has been here ever since.
The father of three children, being involved in their lives was a priority for him. He made time to coach their sports teams and show up for their awards ceremonies. His love of sports also led to him starting the League of Dreams in 2007, an adaptive sports league for children with disabilities. The league allows kids the opportunity to experience the joy and camaraderie of team sports, in spite of their physical challenges.
“I saw something on TV about a baseball league for kids with disabilities and then started it six weeks later, playing baseball with 30 some kids,” said Terrio. “(The League) has grown immensely over the past 11 years, with over 300 kids playing now. I like to start stuff, it’s fun to me, trying to figure it out. I knew nothing about adaptive leagues, but I knew people who did. I knew I could figure out the fundraising and connection side to the community, and then use the experts. When the answer is nobody’s started it, it’s not a good enough answer for me.”
With a reputation for problem-solving, when he sees a need, he sets out to find a solution.
“That’s my role,” said Terrio. “Program development – figuring out things that aren’t typical.”
It was a post on Facebook that led him to his latest project: building homes for homeless veterans.
“My grandpa and my dad were veterans, so I was raised with respect for the military and have always been a big advocate of protecting them and making sure they have what they should,” he said. “This project is perfect because I’m just helping them get it built, then California Veterans Assistance Foundation will take over and run it and I’ll go onto my next project.”
For him, building relationships and listening to others is key.
“I never would have gotten my own business without listening to people,” he said. “It’s OK not to have all the answers. The more people you talk to, the more people you learn from. Go to a trusted source, somebody who knows about that subject.”
Twenty years ago, people told him there was no more room for physical therapy clinics in Bakersfield, but rather than be deterred, he decided to do things differently.
“At 23, I’d have never thought this was possible – it wasn’t even in my dreams,” he said. “It’s kind of my mission in life is to get people to understand what is possible. I don’t think there’s anything special about me. I took a chance and kept going and pursuing my education. I see life as a big game and you have to solve each puzzle to go onto the next piece and have the tenacity to just keep going.” ￼