In Memory of Major Thomas Michael Hardy
May 15, 1981 – August 30, 2016
August 30th, 2016 my son, Major Thomas Michael Hardy, took his own life. Yes, my husband and I were the recipients of every parent’s worst nightmare, at 7am, knock on the door by 2 military personnel to inform us that our son died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 35 years old, a stellar, exemplary soldier with, a total of, more than 2 years of deployment to the Middle East (Iraq and Afghanistan). With many medals and so many accomplishments, promoted twice below the zone, our son felt life was not worth living and the world would be better off without him. So preventable and, now, so permanent. No one, no one knew how hopeless, depressed and in such despair he felt. No one!!!!!!! On the outside, he displayed a cool, confident, role model, hard worker, working on his PhD in Information Technology and on the inside, he was broken and full of self-hate. My fine, fine son at the top of his game, felt worthless and unloved.
He was the CIO of the Army Evans Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado and touched so many lives and made such a good impression on so many. And, now, he is here, no longer. We got so many letters from soldiers, civilians about special memories and all of them, said what an impact he made on their lives and how they are better people because of him. And my son never realized how loved and respected he was.
My son was in the Army for 13 years, 12 of those years his mentor was Col. Beverly Beavers (CIO of 90 Army Hospitals) who, for over 3 hours, spoke to us on the phone about what an incredible, kind person he was. In fact, she mentioned that she’s never met anyone like him. Ever!!!!! and how she felt humbled being in the Army with him and what an impact he made not only on her, on the Army, but the health care system, as well.
I am healing, daily, and I have my faith, family, friends who have gotten me to this point with their unconditional love, support, and, prayers. I have to Let God, Let go, go on.
The numbers of military suicides are astronomical (22/DAY, that’s right, 22/DAY) and it needs to end, now. There has to be a better plan on suicide prevention not only for the military but, everyone. So preventable.
If one family can be spared this unbearable heartache, I will feel my son’s life has not gone on unnoticed. If one person who feels hopeless and depressed gets help, I will feel blessed.
Please, please, please do not feel ashamed or afraid to get help if you feel you are cornered and there is no solution. Ending your life is not the solution. You are not alone. You matter. Just reach out, it’s that simple, just a phone call or hold out your hand. You are a child of God and God loves you, unconditionally, and is always holding your hand and holding your hand, even at your darkest moment. Remember, the eye of the storm is where there is stillness and quiet. Trust in God, or whatever higher being you believe in, and just hold on, just hold on.
You survivors, all of you, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, acquaintances, co-workers you are here for a reason. Do not feel ashamed or hopeless. Your friends and family care deeply for you, let them in and cherish the memories of your loved ones while they were here (for as long or as short, as they were) and please, know, one day we will all be reunited.
Everyone has a story, this was mine.
Sincerely, Jeanne Hardy
POLAND – Prayers will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Poland Chapel followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at the Holy Family Church for Major Thomas M. Hardy, 35, who passed away suddenly on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Tom was born May 15, 1981, in Youngstown, a son of Timothy and Jeanne Hardy. Tom attended the Holy Family School and graduated in 1999 from Poland Seminary High School. Tom received an ROTC scholarship to The Ohio State University, graduating in 2003 as the Distinguished Military Graduate with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering.
Upon graduation from OSU, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team known as “Bastogne” and the 2nd Battalion 327th Infantry Regiment and deployed to Mosul, Iraq for the first of two deployments there. While stationed in Iraq, Tom received an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and returned stateside in 2004 and was stationed in Ft. Campbell, Ky. Tom went on his second tour to Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006. During this deployment, he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone and promoted to Captain. Upon redeployment, he transferred to the 30th Medical Command in Heidelberg Germany, where he was assigned as the Automation Management Officer and then Headquarters, Headquarters Company Commander. Tom was responsible for all medical personnel while stationed in Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for a year.
Upon returning from Afghanistan, Tom was stationed in Washington, DC., where he attended George Washington University, receiving his 2nd Master’s Degree in Information Technology. After graduation, he was assigned to Ft. Carson, Colo. as Chief Information Officer at the Evans Army Hospital and promoted to Major. Following that assignment, he began his Ph.D. in Information Technology at the University of Colorado.
Tom enjoyed playing the guitar and in high school was a member of the “No Cash Value” band. He also enjoyed fishing, mountain climbing and motorcycles. Between all of his tours he visited 55 different countries. Tom’s greatest loves was for his daughter, Carolina, and his dog, Clifford. Tom is survived by his parents, Timothy and Jeanne Hardy; his daughter, Carolina Sofia, a sister, Lisa; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Tom was also preceded in death by his brother, Jim Hardy.
Closing words from Jeanne, Tom’s mother: “If only they would realize that it is a sign of courage and trust to reach out for help. It’s not a weakness or anything to be ashamed of. So preventable, just reach out and never, ever give up. Please, please, please.”