About Tom's Family

It simply isn’t possible to tell Tom’s story accurately without sharing who he was – and is – beyond his injury. However, Tom’s story would also be hopelessly incomplete without discussing his family… especially his parents.

BlueScans (2).jpg

More About Tom

Tom grew up in southern Wisconsin, surrounded by his family (including generations of beloved rescue animals). He loved writing, music, creating artwork, working out, and he was a huge sports fan. Tom and his family regularly attended football and basketball games together at the local college (Go Warhawks!).

Tom eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he became known for his advocacy and volunteer efforts. He has always been active in community service and passionate about helping others in need. Tom and his family are longtime supporters of community food pantries, animal rescues, and programs for homebound seniors. `

Today, Tom is still a proud cat dad, writer and Star Trek fan. He continues to participate in community service as his health allows, including efforts to grow produce for the local food pantry. 

Tom remains passionate about advocacy, even as he fights to save his home. He uses his story to raise awareness about brain injuries and hopes to someday create a resource center for traumatic brain injury survivors.

18TomHUWW.jpg

Meet Tom's Parents

1FireworksJohnShirley.jpg

John and Shirley, shown here during happier times, grew up in southern Wisconsin and remained there throughout their married lives. Both were locally well-known for their years of community service, including the countless hours they donated to their church, the public library, animal rescues, numerous other charitable causes, and the local college.  

John was a kind, simple, hard-working man who worked at the university as a staff member for many years and also had a part-time maintenance job at a local church. His love for animals (especially his many cats) was his trademark, as were his dedication to his children and his community. He was also a lifelong fan of the UW-Whitewater football and basketball teams, as well as the Green Bay Packers.

Shirley was a schoolteacher for a number of years before eventually changing careers and becoming a librarian. She was a talented artist and musician and remains interested in music to this day. Shirley supported Tom in his many creative pursuits, including writing, art and music. She also gave innumerable hours to local programs that help at-risk children and disabled seniors, as well as the food pantry. 

John and Shirley opened their home to others and became unofficial foster parents to several of Tom’s classmates while he was growing up. They also took part in a high-school exchange program that brought students from Illinois to stay with them for varying periods each semester. These same students still refer to Tom’s parents as “Mom and Dad” to this day.       

Tom’s mom and dad truly are unsung heroes in his story. They were a simple, working couple about to retire at the time of his injury, but they dropped everything to help him. 

Tom’s parents maintained a constant vigil at his bedside throughout his hospital stay, and they continued to support him after his dismissal. His medical and related expenses were staggering, and the couple sacrificed everything to meet his needs. They drained their retirement fund, refinanced their home and took desperate financial measures to provide for his care and give him the best chance to recover.  

Both of Tom’s parents had serious medical issues of their own, but they continued working long after their doctors told them they needed to retire. This was the only way they could hang onto their home and keep a roof over Tom’s head.

Today, Tom’s dad has passed, his mother is in rapidly failing health, and there are no resources left. But Tom would not still be alive and fighting for his future without the unwavering dedication of his parents.