It wasn’t much longer than a year ago that 18-year-old Tom Surdyke started to realize his dreams. After receiving the “Eagle Scout,” he had also received an appointment to the United States Military Academy (West Point) in the fall of 2015.
— Rep. Jason Smith (@RepJasonSmith) May 11, 2015
The young cadet made the most of that year:
While taking a break before a field training exercise, Surdyke was on vacation with another cadet in Southampton, New York, when tragedy struck on Friday. The 19-year-old cadet got caught with another person in a riptide – and the other person couldn’t swim.
Witnesses say that Surdyke was swept under the water after trying to assist the other person and was unresponsive when they pulled him from the water. Surdyke was given CPR and he stayed in a coma until he passed away on Tuesday evening.
His mother, Janice Surdyke, posted the following messages on her Facebook page:
The post reads:
“Heartbroken. Our son and hero, Cadet Tom Surdyke has passed. Continuing to serve others in death as in life, Tom chose to donate his organs, thus requiring him to be on a ventilator for the next 48 hours. However, his soul is with the Lord. Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to Pray for our family.”
Michael Horsey, a member of the West Point Parents Club of St. Louis, added his comments:
“Tom demonstrated the highest level of Duty, Honor, Country that all Army officers, all military members, are called to uphold.
He basically sacrificed himself. He could have panicked, but he tried to save the other person.”
The identity and current condition of the person Surdyke was trying to save has not been released by Southampton authorities.