The Bond of a Brother
by Jesse Studyvin

People say that throughout the course of life, you meet a very select group that will have a lasting impact on your formation of character. I remain convinced that Tom and I had a special bond-despite only being such close friends for an all-too-short five years. Tom was an inspiration to me in football at St. Pius-and even though he may never have known it-was a crucial component in my decision to continue my football career. After being diagnosed with diabetes, I was forced to accept that my “dream” to attend West Point was one that I would never recognize. Truth be told, I was jealous of Tom for such an opportunity, but immensely proud of him. Anyone that knew Tom knew how much he loved football, and those closer knew how much he wanted to play in college. I recall times when we would joke about sitting on the inversion table at Pius trying to get that extra inch to look better on profiles. It’s almost ironic how we were able to live out each other’s dreams vicariously. Hopefully, he can be as proud of me as I remain proud of him. We would talk for countless amounts of time at each other’s houses, after football practices, or even when Tom would golf while I made a fool of myself attempting to swing a club about all the world’s problems that we would solve-and those we would make. One of our last conversations was talking about how we both wanted to go against the advice of our parents, and get tattoos like the one in 13 Hours of an American flag tearing through the skin over the ribcage. Tom never had an opportunity to do more than talk of it though, and once some time passed, I decided I would get this tattoo as a memorial to him, as the flag he loved so dearly will always be displayed proudly on myself and in the actions I undertake every day.

            The stories I could tell of Tom go on forever, but this memoir already drags with memories that are best told over time, to ensure that a hero’s actions are never forgotten-even those before his deed. I’ll close with a few points that I heard, and carry with me every day. There’s three prongs to this piece: 1) Who do you look up to? Someone who you can use as a model for the character you want to develop. 2) What do you look forward to? That one thing that you can never get off your mind. 3)  What is it that you’re chasing? The ultimate question…some people never know what it may be.

            Luckily we who had the pleasure of knowing Tom, know that we should hold him in the highest esteem and is someone that we can all look up to. We can look forward to the time that we can be with him again in our Eternal Rest. We can chase the example that Tom has left on this earth for us-to always do whatever it takes to save another. To be half the man that Tom was in life, will surely lead to a betterment of the world in which we live.

 Until we meet again, Tom, I miss you, I love you, and I finally earned that dollar that you bet me over my deadlift. 

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