Celebrating a centenarian!
Lt. Colonel Thomas (Tommy) Gorman
“Tommy,” as he’s affectionately known to family and friends, walks into the gymnasium at the Asbury Park, N.J., Corps with a pep in his step that would be the envy of most 50–year–olds. He flashes a smile that melts every heart in the room. He has just turned 100 years old. And his nearest and dearest are going to celebrate this milestone rather than let it slip by unnoticed.
As Tommy sits in the huge armchair lovingly placed in the center of the room, guests rise to applaud him. He smiles once more and resigns himself to the fact that, at this magical moment, he’s the center of attention.
Thomas Gorman was a member of “The World for God” session of Salvation Army cadets (1935–1936). During a career that spanned 43 years, he served in 20 appointments. He also served as a member of the New York Staff Band (NYSB), of which he’s the oldest alumnus.
In September of 1979, Gorman retired as a lt. colonel in Asbury Park, N.J. Today, he attends the corps faithfully, still drives himself to worship, and sings with the songsters every week.
In recognition of Gorman’s longstanding relationship with the NYSB, some current members offered a little music for the celebration. They presented a special prerecorded vocal arrangement of “Happy Birthday.”
When I asked him what it meant for him to have representatives from the NYSB at his party, he said, “I’m having a struggle —I don’t usually have a struggle. I’m a little emotional.”
Surrounded by loving family members, other retired officers, corps officers past and present, and friends, Tommy was presented with a personal letter from General André Cox, international leader of The Salvation Army. Gorman listened intently as the letter was read aloud. As tears of joy slipped down his cheeks, the sound of applause and cheers for this centenarian filled the room.
by Siran Farrar