We have known Tom Henke since 1995, the year that the Jefferson City Cosmopolitan Club hosted his very first charity golf tournament. Over the past 16 years, we have admired Tom for his character and generosity in giving back to the Jefferson City community.
On June 18, Tom was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame which is located in St. Marys, Ontario. In referring to Tom, speakers at the induction ceremony mentioned the same qualities that we've associated with him over the years - character, humility, integrity and professionalism.
John Sullivan, Tom's bullpen coach at Toronto, broke down in tears when he concluded his introductory speech of Tom by saying, "Tom is the type of man that every father wishes his daughter would bring home and ask for permission to marry."
Tom brought many in the crowd of approximately 1,000 to their feet, and to tears, with his heartfelt speech which was funny, sincere and very emotional, particularly when he thanked his family, friends, old teammates and his fans. After the ceremony was over, we overheard an elderly gentleman say to one of the event volunteers, "That speech by Tom Henke was the best I've ever heard."
We feel very fortunate to have been able to share this special occasion with Tom. In a time when many current and former professional athletes make the news for all of the wrong reasons, it is good to know that there are those individuals like Tom that we can all be proud of.
Tom, congratulations on receiving a well-deserved honor and thank you for all you do for our community. We share the opinion of Master of Ceremonies, sportscaster Mark Hebscher, who said about Tom, "We are all richer for having known you."