Lasting Legacy
by Warren Kay

I was Tom's platoon leader during the first half of his Beast experience. I didn't run across him much during the academic year, but I frequently reflected upon my time as his platoon leader because it was a very enlightening leadership detail for me. Knowing that I would one day be a platoon leader in charge of Soldiers after graduation, I tried to get the most out of my 3 weeks in that position. That included taking on the responsibility of helping Tom develop during his first weeks at USMA. 


Since graduating and completing BOLC, I have moved out to my first duty station at Fort Lewis, Washington. I helped coach a group of 4th-6th grade boys in a local basketball league. As part of the coaching experience, I tried to help these young boys develop life and basketball skills. They were often rather squirmish and I struggled to keep their attention. A couple of weeks ago, one of the boys asked me about the silver band that I wear on my wrist - I have been wearing Tom's Steel Hearts bracelet for many months. It gave me the opportunity to tell Tom's story - of his character and his sacrifice. I quickly captured the attention of the group of boys as they realized just bits of the fragility of life and the honor of such a sacrifice. 


I still think about Tom often. He is still inspiring the next generation - whether it is 4th-6th grade boys at basketball practice, or a young lieutenant who is anxiously waiting to take on the responsibility of caring for a group of American Soldiers. 

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