Quality Trumps Quantity
by Angel Wolf

It was a February night when I got a surprise call from my dear friend James Crimmins informing me that he and a group of buddies would be escaping from their Plebe life at the Point for a weekend and was wondering if they could stop by Villanova to visit. Obviously I welcomed them with open arms to my second home and within 24 hours I had five energetic cadets standing at my doorstep. Cadet Tom Surdyke was one of the five. He wasn’t the rambunctious one. He wasn’t loud; in ...fact he was quiet. Yet his peaceful nature was what made me remember him. I got to know him more over the next few months and realized how lucky I was to have stumbled upon such a true friend.

Tommy was one of those people who proves that quality trumps quantity. I knew him for five months and only saw him in person twice, yet when we talked I felt like I had known him for years. No matter what the genre of conversation it was anything but shallow. We went from him convincing me to try this foreign Southern substance called a “hushpuppy” to discussing hunting, cowboys, the bible, and back again to hush puppies and me discovering that they are quite delectable (but only with ketchup as he directed). We laughed and bonded from stories we had about being the only girl and the only boy in our families. He talked of his adoration for his parents and his love for his beautiful sisters and how it brightened his world when he got to come home to see them.

Two days before the accident he asked me a question about a lifestyle choice of mine and I gave him the one sentence response I give to everyone as I light-heartedly moved on to a different topic. That wasn’t good enough for him though. He dove into an entire discussion about it and it was one of the rare times someone genuinely cared so much to not only go deeper but to listen to what I had to say. Many people ask questions- not many people listen to the answer. It wasn’t about proving anyone wrong; it was about understanding each other. He touched everyone around him and it was because he had the selfless desire to truly know others and the courage to share himself with them in return.

I may not have known him as long as I wanted, but I do know that anyone who merely saw his smile was affected by his pureness. The hardest thing to be is real, but for him it was effortless. He gave his time. He gave his laughter. He gave his listening ear. He gave his words of advice. He gave his comfort. He gave his protection. He gave his love.

He gave his life. He gave himself away and God has now joyously received him in his Kingdom.

We will all see you soon enough, Tommy, but until then may we all learn from your heroic display of true love and true courage. #prayForCadetTomSurdyke

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