To get my head into it, I went through some old files of photos of clippings. My search turned up what I had already knew: Tom was up to his eyeballs in school and community projects since the day he arrived here in 1957.
As I scratched out some notes about his 31 years as superintendent-principal-teacher-coach at Jefferson School and his 18 years as a trustee of the Tracy Unified School District, I noted that Tom might now be retired as a school trustee, but he certainly hasn’t quit his involvement with Tracy.
Just then, the phone rang, and the message was to call Tom Hawkins. I was right, Tom had indeed not quit. When I got hold of him, he told me he was checking with me to see if the Press could give some ink to the upcoming Jefferson School reunion. Tom said he was on the committee planning the Aug. 21 event, and he hoped to attract a good turnout of people associated with Jefferson in any way.
The phone call underscored Tom’s trademark in any project he undertakes: hands-on and long-term. Tom never has been one of those who gets super-excited about a single project and then drops out of sight once it has taken place the one and only time.
Anyone who is a member of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club will tell you that. Tom has served as club treasurer for countless years, in addition to being club president. He has ram-rodded the club’s operations of snack stands at Tracy and West football games for decades. And, as a friend shouted out Wednesday night, “He’s still at it.”
Obviously, Tom loves to be involved in a major way in any project he undertakes. To sustain that love and that commitment over a number of years is indeed unusual, but to Tom, it’s just the way things got done — and still get done.
And while mentioning the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club, I should note that the club lost one of its stalwarts July 24 when Louie Galli died.
Louie loved to stir up the club’s meetings with comments on any and all topics. And he loved delivering pointed questions to speakers at the meetings. The meetings may now be a bit more subdued, but they’re not nearly as much fun.
Cement or concrete?
Every time a report on plugging the Gulf of Mexico oil spill mentions that cement will be inserted at the bottom of well, two words come to mind: John Erb.
John was manager of Tracy American Ready Mix for a decade or so and knew a thing or two about cement and concrete. When we would report in the Press that cement was being poured for a construction project, John would be sure to call and say, “That’s concrete, Matthews.”
He would explain that cement is the principal bonding ingredient in concrete, but concrete also needs water, sand and aggregates.
Most of the time, the news reports from the Gulf have indicated cement was being pumped into the wayward deep-sea well, but then, in the past couple of days, I’ve heard concrete mentioned. Maybe John, now a Fresno resident, has been on the phone to the folks in the TV network newsrooms.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.