Thomas Hammerle Memorial Scholarship Endowment A 10 Year Milestone Reached: A Young Life Remembered
A Donor's Perspective
by Pete and Virginia Hammerle
About Tom Hammerle
How can you capture the essence of a little boy?
Words are simply ineffective.
Tom was filled with joy and never hesitated to share it freely. Like most seven-year-old boys, his life revolved around family, friends and play dates, sports, and fun. He loved toy soldiers and trucks, playing basketball and baseball, swimming and running. His vivid imagination led his sister, Sarah, and him into incredible adventures.
But things changed. Tom had just started second grade at McAuliffe Elementary School when he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that was malignant and inoperable. However, he never let it faze him but instead incorporated his new reality with the old. He found captive audiences among the radiation center staff who listened to his jokes, held wheelchair races down the school hallways, and made new friends everywhere he went.
Through it all, there were so many wonderful expressions of support and love. His classmates helped him at every turn, even planning surprises to make him laugh. They drew pictures that one of the parents made into a quilt that Tom kept on his bed every night. When he came home from one of his many hospital visits, the students had a parade to welcome him home. They named him Student of the Year and gave a big ceremony in his honor at the end of the school year. Tom's teacher, Ms. Dimitriadis, said she had never seen such a loving class.
Tom graduated from second grade. Then on July 25, 1999, he died in his room at home surrounded by his toys and trophies. The quilt was on his bed.
Before Tom died, we had decided to endow a scholarship in Tom's memory to benefit the children who had attended McAuliffe Elementary School. The Lewisville ISD Education Foundation had been established for just such a purpose, and thus the Thomas Hammerle Memorial Scholarship was created.
This year holds special significance as it marks the year Tom would have graduated from high school. In honor of that milestone, we made arrangements with LEF to have a special scholarship available for 20 of Tom's classmates for their 2009 high school graduation.