Monday, July 23, 2007

No Sun Today

The clouds are blanketing the sky today. I think that is a good thing. My heart is blanketed too...just sad. One of my friends from college passed away this weekend. Tommy was 32 and died of a massive heart attack. Man, that just doesn't seem right. He was one of the first people I met my freshman year, and we were in all sorts of organizations together & also many classes as we had the same major. Below is the email I received...I don't personally know the person that wrote it, but they captured Tommy's essence very well--so I won't try to duplicate it in my own words.
It Is Silent In the Jungle---AGAIN!!

My fellow Gorillas, the Jungle is again silent this Sunday!! We have lost another close and wonderful Gorilla. Tragedy struck again yesterday afternoon as Tommy Riggs, Associate Athletic Director, was suddenly stricken with a massive heart attack and died while visiting family in the KC area. At this time details regarding memorial services for Tommy have not been announced and as soon as they are I will post a new email as I am sure many of those reading this message will wish to attend.Tommy was only 32 years of age-----------much, much too young to be taken from us!! But we all know "he giveth, and he taketh away". He has some unknown intent for Tommy and one thing is sure---whatever the assignment is, IT WILL BE HANDLED PROFESSIONALLY AND IN A TIMELY MANNER. That is how Tommy Riggs worked and lived his life.

A bit more about Tommy---shared with you from a short news story in the Morning Sun earlier this a.m.Tommy served as Chamber of Commerce President at the ripe age of 17 in his hometown of Chetopa, Kansas. That gives an indication of the leadership skills he developed early. He graduated from Pitt State in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing. During his tenure as a student he served one year as student body President, thus using more leadership skills. In1998 he was named PSU's Outstanding Senior Man, a huge accolade. Tommy was very instrumental in bringing the Kansas Shrine Bowl to Pittsburg in 2002 and again in 2006. He also played key roles in the expansion and construction of skyboxes at CSS.

Tommy worked 9 years for the PSU athletics dept, the last four as Associate Athletics Dir for Marketing and Promotions. He was involved in anything and everything to promote PSU athletics locally and nationally. But he also promoted PSU in general, not just in athletics. He was ALWAYS THERE.From a personal standpoint, I first met Tommy when son Scott enrolled at Pitt in 1995 and I began a wonderful re-association with my alma mater.Then, when I serve my two year term as President of the KC Gorilla Club, Ilearned first-hand what a wonderful and great person Tommy was/is!! Never did I call down to Pitt with a question for Tommy that I did not get a reply to my needs. He got it done!!! Whatever it was!!!

I can tell you that Tommy Riggs spent countless hours and days and nights even the past few years coordinating and managing the great events at Arrowhead Stadium. Many aspects of those venues would not have taken place without his direct involvement and work.His latest effort, just announced a few weeks ago, is the broadcast of the2007 season-opener on CSTV as well as the Fox Southwest TV networks. He wanted that badly!! And he GOT IT!!----he wanted and got it for the Gorilla fans, not selfishly for his own glory. That was not how Tommy Riggs worked!! On one other personal note, every time I would meet Tommy, he would smile that great smile, stick out his hand for a solid Gorilla handshake, and then would say "How's Scott?' That personally is what sticks in my mind about Tommy. Might seem a small thing but it is BIG to me!!

Tommy Riggs, you will be missed, you ARE missed---by family and friends and by some who do not even know you but whose lives you have touched in many ways through your tireless efforts on behalf of our alma mater. St.Peter's "team" now has a new member and we will all be together someday for another game or two. Until then we know you will be watching!!!To Tommy's family I send condolences and our sincere thoughts of deepest sympathy at this tough time. I would only say "Remember the good times,they help to heal the sorrows."God Bless Tommy Riggs!!!

Once a Gorilla, Always a Gorilla!!Go Gorillas!!


For those who say big men should not cry, I beg to differ with you on this heavy-hearted Sunday. Big men DO cry!!

So enters a new stage in my life, and I'm sure many other of my friends' lives...that of mourning the passing of a friend. My prayer is for peace & comfort today.

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