February 28, 2014 --
After a flood of calls, texts and Facebook posts, Sgt. Thomas Over, licensing noncommissioned officer, Garrison Mobile Equipment, Logistics Support Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, learned he had been nominated as Alden, N.Y.’s hometown hero of the week by a local radio station, recently.
According to the station’s website, WYRK honors service members, who are serving or have served in the military, with a little recognition by selecting a hometown hero. That person receives an ‘on air’ thank you and the first song of “Noon Tunes” dedicated to them.
“My phone was ringing non-stop and everybody was posting on my Facebook page that day,” Over said. “At first, I thought my friends were just playing a joke on me, but so many people were contacting me. I later found out my sister nominated me for the title, and the station selected me.”
This is not Over’s first time being considered a hometown hero. In 2013, he saved his wife’s life while celebrating his sister’s birthday in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Over and several friends were on a rented boat when his wife and her friend decided to jump off the boat into the water.
After watching the two, Over realized they were in trouble. He jumped into the water and swam to the struggling duo.
Over said the currents were strong, and it was impossible for him alone to rescue them both. He summoned for help, and another friend in a kayak came and delivered the pair safely to shore.
Over downplays his role in the rescue and considers it a group effort.
“I would not have been able to get them back to safety by myself,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to assist. Lifeguard training and advanced swim qualification with the Marine Corps equipped me with the skills I needed that day.”
For as long as Over can remember, his dream was to become a Marine.
Wasting no time in making his dream come true, two days after graduating from Alden High School, Over joined the Marine Corps.
As a Marine, a small sampling of his responsibilities include facilitating 40-hour, five-day classes to become a forklift operator, hazardous and explosive material classes, commercial bus classes and commercial 3-ton safety training.
Even with the daily responsibilities his position carries, he is often tasked with additional duties. Some of those responsibilities include being selected to perform funeral details and being part of the staff selected to prepare tax returns.
Kitras Thomas, training and licensing instructor, GME, said he is very professional and motivated.
“Even when he is not in uniform, Over is a person who makes the Marine Corps proud,” Thomas said. “He spends a lot of his personal time volunteering as a coach for a little league football team in town. That is not a very common trait for many young men these days.
“When he is in the office, he shows such dedication and willingness to go above and beyond what he is expected to do,” he added. “I feel proud to have him on my team.”
If all of that were not enough, Over is also attending Darton State College in Albany, Ga., to obtain a degree in business.
“I plan to make the Marines my career,” he said. “I want to serve my country for as long as they will allow me to serve, but I want to be as prepared as possible for whatever I am tasked to do.
“I think earning my degree will only ensure I am best prepared for any task assigned to me,” he said.