To whom it may concern;
I would like to write to you and describe the man I know Tom Etier. I would further like to tell you, based on my life experiences, why I truly know that Tom is a once in a lifetime friend.
Tom and I became friends over 20 years ago through a mutual friend and carne to speak to me about my business insurance. Tom was open, honest and forthright giving me an honest assessment of what was good and bad about my current coverage. Tom and I immediately clicked and not only did I go with his insurance but we became instant friends.
As fellow business owners, family men and lovers of golf we quickly formed an inseparable bond. A bond that we both dearly loved. We truly cared about each other’s wellbeing and each other’s family. We would spend time on the golf course where we became formidable teammates to the chagrin of our co club members. Our friendship grew to include both our wives and our daughters. Tom has two daughters and so did I. We went on family outings together, vacations together. We enjoyed life together. Any big moment in each of our lives was immediately shared with each other.
Over time we became very close. We called each other for personal and professional advice. I became close to his family and Tom became close to mine. Tommy was always there for me when I called and needed him. I was the first person Tommy called and remember the day so vividly when Tommy called and told me his daughter Alyssa had cancer. We sat together and cried and comforted each other.
Tommy and I pledged to each other that if anything happened to either of us that we would look after each other’s children. This was a huge comfort for me. I believed in my heart that Tommy would always be there for me. I believed Tommy’s heart was pure and genuine. I truly believed this. This belief in my heart became prophetic.
People of faith know it is written that darkness comes in every life. My life was no exception to this scripture and in late 2009 my life changed forever. In a matter of a few short months I lost my business to the great recession and my wife of 25 plus years, who I adored, started having an affair. My once strong spirit and conviction was destroyed. I lost my will. I turned to alcohol for relief. The alcohol slowly started to ruin my life. Through this I started to lose friends with every incident I had. Rehab after rehab. I once had hundreds of friends and they suddenly started fading away. One by one. I could not blame them.
By the time I received a DUI I only had one friend left. This was Tommy. And not a friend that would just say he was still my friend. An intentional friend that called me, visited me, encouraged me. I struggled with breaking the law. My path was dark. I struggled with incarceration and Tommy was there for me. I struggled with lying in a hospital bed and the doctors telling my family I may not live. Tommy was there for me. This is unconditional love. Unconditional. And Tommy would do even more for me.
My pain and suffering had ups and downs but over time it just kept getting worse. The bottom came when I had relapsed in St. Charles. Living all alone Tommy came for me to help. He took me to Rockford Memorial Hospital. I, in a state of relapse, fled the hospital taking an ambulance. The authorities were looking for me. My face was broadcast all over the press. No one and I mean no one wanted anything to do with me.
It was Tommy that called me and got me to turn myself in. He could have had enough of me by then and I would not have blamed him. But this is my dear friend Tommy Etier. He never left my side. He helped me during my incarceration. He called and checked on my family. He met with my daughters and, as promised, asked if they needed anything. He took a beating from all his friends about me. He was on a family vacation in Cabo Mexico with good friends when the verbal abuse came to him from these friends and his wife about being my friend and that he should abandon me. My friend Tommy told them very emphatically that if one more word against his dear friend Paul was spoken that he was leaving immediately and going home on the next flight. This is a true friend.
My life got better. I have made the changes in my life and love my life today. Tommy has walked right by my side through this whole journey. I owe Tommy a huge debt of gratitude for his great participation in getting me to where I am today. Our bond and friendship is forever.
You may think this story is unusual and hard to fathom. I get that because the perception is that people this good with this kind of heart simply do not exist in our world of instant gratification. If so, then I encourage you to meet with me and look me in the eye as I tell you my story and how much I believe Tommy helped literally save my life.
This is just my story. Tom Etier is this kind of friend to many. When Tom Etier says he is your friend then it’s for life. Tom Etier is this kind of Father. Tom Etier if this kind of Husband. Tom Etier is this kind of man. Tom is the first person charitable organizations call for help because they know he will say yes. Tom Etier cares deeply for our community and for our city. Tom Etier is a better person for living through this current difficulty. I believe in Tom Etier.
I will close by stating this: Tom Etier is a once in a lifetime friend, an incredible father and husband, that I love dearly and that I thank God each and every day for.
Tom Etier is my cherished friend for life.
Paul S. Chandler