Well Done
by Gustavo Maldonado

Two years ago, I scrambled into company B4. I think it was pretty apparent that I didn't buy in to the company immediately; it was just a move from one barracks to the next, no big deal. Everyone did it. This past year, I really got to experience what leadership was like. And I also had the privelege of meeting Tom Surdyke.

Everyone says there is that moment where you notice there is something special about someone, just from their presence. I've noticed that about several people in my company; one of these is Tom. Tom was a Plebe and I was a cow, so there naturally existed the typical USMA barrier between under and upperclassmen. But he separated himself from his classmates. While I just about lost my nerve wondering aloud why the Plebes couldn't call minutes louder, Tom watched me approach him, simply grinned and I lost my bearing. At that point, I realized I would never be able to say anything to him without laughing, so he spared me the heartache and loudly called the minutes on his own. What else could you expect from the only person with the spirit to wear the buff mascot suit?

In an act of selflessness, Tom Surdyke rescued a swimmer who had been swept away by a riptide. In the process, Tom sacrificed his own life. I believe that life is the most sacred of all things in this world. To put your life on the line for someone else is the most valiant act you can perform. And Tom, you sure as hell know that I look up to you and will work harder every day to be more like you. People with your courage are what keep me motivated to move forward. Thank you for everything that youve done for your friends, your family and your country. You make me proud to call myself a Buff. Well done.

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