Submitted by his Mother
Thomas Joseph Hays‚ a life long resident of Lower Merion and Narberth‚ PA‚ died Friday December 8‚ 2006 at his home in Narberth. He was 25. Though his life was cut short‚ Tom achieved more then most people do in a lifetime. Tom was an active volunteer and a paid fill in fireman for the Merion Fire Company of Ardmore‚ where he ran for 7 years‚ and Narberth Fire Company‚ where he ran for 3 years. He also received the Fireman of the Year Commendation in 2003‚ as well as the Rotary Club of Ardmore award for Outstanding Contribution as a Firefighter. He was an accomplished driver on all fire trucks‚ including a 105 ft All-Streer Quint and a Quality 105 ft Stick Ladder. Tom was also qualified as a hazardous materials technician and helped maintain the radio networks. He kept up to date an all classes that the fire academy would offer and planned to return to school to receive his fire management degree. He was Treasurer of the Active Members Club for the Merion Fire Company of Ardmore. Tom decided to join Narberth after leaving home and moving into a house across the street from the fire company with his brother and a friend. He later moved into another home in Narberth with his two close friends‚ Owen and John. Tom remained active at both firehouses until his death; in fact his last fire call involved both companies.
Tom was also active in civic affairs‚ receiving the first Gloria Wolek Citizenship Award in 1999 and becoming the youngest member of the Wynnewood Civic Association. He also became one of the first junior members of the Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia. He displayed a railroad garden in the Philadelphia Flower Show with the help of two of his fire buddies and his brother.
Tom was born February 17‚ 1981 at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Upper Darby. He lived at his parents’ home in Wynnewood before leaving for Narberth several years ago. He attended St. Margaret’s school in Narberth through sixth grade‚ where he made many life long friends. He attended seventh and eighth grades at Delaware Valley Friends School in Bryn Mawr. He flourished at Lower Merion High School‚ graduating 1999‚ where he was active in Players and President of Stage Crew/AV Club for two years. He recently graduated from Temple University in Civil Engineering and was beginning a promising career in property management. Throughout his time at Temple‚ he worked for several years at the engineering department at Lower Merion School District.
Firefighting was always on Tom’s mind. Whether it was setting up an LCD display board at Narberth Fire company so they could see the street they were responding to‚ or sitting at home finding new frequencies to add to his ever growing binder‚ Tom was active in anything and everything that had to do with his first passion‚ firefighting.
Tom did have other passions besides firefighting‚ though. He had an extensive model railroad collection that was set up in the basement of his parent’s house. He would never hesitate though‚ to see the real life freight trains that would be announced through one of Tom’s numerous radios. He was proud the day he obtained his HAM radio license‚ KB30BK‚ and continued to baffle people with the amount of blue lights he could fit on his green F150 truck. Tom was also infamous in the neighborhood around Christmas time. He loved finding interesting ways to set up Christmas lights and timing them perfectly. He even managed to suspend reindeer and a sled across his parent’s back yard for the town to see (including the synagogue that over looked the backyard).
Tom was a gentle giant; at 6’5 he never looked down on anyone and always had a great smile to put at ease a close friend or a new acquaintance. He always helped out in any situation no matter what it entailed. Whether it was helping out at the firehouse to fill in for Christmas or Easter so the other men could be with their families‚ helping a friend with electrical or computer work‚ or even squishing a bug on the ceiling for his mom. Tom was a man of many talents whose true impact on all of us will never be realized. He will be loved and missed by many. We are lucky to have known Tom and feel sorry for the people that never did‚ because‚ really‚ it is there loss for not knowing this fantastic man. Luckily we have good memories‚ funny pictures‚ and great tales of Tom Hays‚ an all around good guy.