A True Friend
by Chance Mathias
2/24/2017


Tom was such a happy and hardworking individual, something I admired and respected most about him. Everyone on the Sandhurst team came to hate our endurance practices but, nevertheless, Tom outworked everyone to the standard every time. And when our squad leader would surprise us by saying we would play football for practice, Tom would be there with his football and a wide grin. 

One afternoon, Tom, Pat Rogers, and I went snowboarding...Tom never snowboarded before, but he was 100% up for the fun day on the slopes. That was the thing about Tom he was always there with you, no matter what, a true friend. Tom fell a lot that day, but he got to where he could ride down the slope without falling. On the last run he had built up enough confidence to go full speed...he crashed and burned. He was really boggled, said he was done, but he said it with that same big smile. He was even happier when we went inside to the ski lodge and saw a pretty girl. Tom was a ladies man, and showed us boys how to be a gentleman. 

My favorite memory of Tom was one of my last. The whole Corps was on the parade field for graduation practice. I was standing to the right of Tom and he was thankfully standing on the outside of the formation. He must have had food poisoning because 10 minutes into the practice he asked our platoon seargeant to leave. He didn't take but 5 steps back towards the barracks when he hurled that days lunch. He literally stopped for a second, finished his business, and without skipping a beat, he kept walking like nothing happened... like wow, this kid was something else!  He stopped to puke several more times as he walked away, and he ended up thrusting his hand in the air in triumph as the Corps cheered! 

Tom was destined for greatness. Anyone could see that. He had that can do attitude which made him want, desire, and achieve success. But Tom always put others before himself... and that can be seen until his last moments. I am not surprised by his heroic act. That was Tom. It just made sense. One can only hope to be half of what Tom was and is. A warrior. An angel. A true friend. 

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