Tom was admitted to Collier High School in 2001 after attending three other high schools. Though as he puts it, “I was a fight risk,” Collier took a chance on what was a rocky sophomore year. However, each year got progressively better because Tom began connecting with staff that made a difference to him. Mr. Bickart, Ms. DiStefano, Ms. White and Mr. Bock recognized his interests and cultivated it in the classroom. Tom recalled Mr. Bock encouraging him to join the wrestling team to help diffuse some of his anger. In 2003, Tom took first place in his weight class on the wrestling team. Tom noted, I will always appreciate the support that was given to me at Collier. “I learned more because I could be myself.”
After graduation, Tom attended Somerset County Technical Institute for electric engineering. He left after the first semester and in 2005 contacted Sgt. Wong of the Army National Guard. Staff Sgt. Wong was a familiar face among the Collier seniors because he did yearly employment workshops and recruiting with them. In March 2005, Tom enlisted in the Army National Guard and has been involved in training 2 weeks a year and one weekend a month for the last 11 years. Tom worked for AARON Plumbing & HVAC Company and the Northwest Building Supply Company until 2008. He was deployed to Iraq in 2008 where he remained one year. Tom’s role was as a TIFF Armour, a soldier who repaired weapons, grenade launchers and was an emergency contact for convoys.
After returning from Iraq, Tom was employed with Morgan Truck Company, repairing all parts of the truck.
In 2014 he applied to the Department of Defense for a position as a Federal technician, repairing all military weapons, including a Howitzer, which is a cannon on wheels, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. I asked Tom if they call him the “Gun Doctor” he said that is how some staff refer to him. He indicated that it is fun diagnosing and fixing the weapons.
Tom currently resides in East Windsor and is currently a Sgt E 5 Non Commissioned Officer who is employed at Fort Dix.
Finally, Tom stated that Collier put him on the path to where he is today. “I couldn’t have made it through high school without Collier.”
Thank you for your service to our country, Tom!