Early this morning I got the news that one of my best friends passed away. I’ve been a resident of Pine Island, NY for 20 years at this point… I didn’t really immerse myself in the people and culture until the past 7 years or so.
Next to my home is one of the main hubs of this town, the Polish Legion of American Veterans, Post 16. You won’t find a finer example of dedication to the veterans of our armed forces anywhere. The people make it that way.
Years ago, I walked in for the first time and met someone who I was warned to be very grumpy and not very friendly. Of course, within minutes Tom and I became fast friends. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him.
Always there with a quick comment, a wry smile, and great conversation I got the chance to know him and his family well over the years. When he revealed that he was sick, I was hard pressed to notice it. The man ran on sheer stubborn will and seemed to have an endless supply.
Behind the gruff exterior was a heart of gold and timeless wisdom that often exemplifies the heroes who are veterans of war. I can’t imagine what he carried with him from that experience but I know it made him into a man that I respected and trusted without question.
I’ll miss him every day, another hero has finally gone back home for good. God bless you Tom. My condolences and prayers are with the Lodema family and all of those who were lucky enough to have him in our lives.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:17-18