Honoring Thomas Callahan, #2- AWAKE List of Heroes

In an earlier post I honored the great Dr. Leo Marvin, a man who taught me a little bit of how to live AWAKE. Today I want to honor another great man who also helped show me the way. His name was Thomas Callahan.

Thomas never had the skills of his legendary father, “Big Tom”. In the mid 70″s it was Big Tom who single handedly saved the town of Sandusky Ohio. His company, Callahan Auto was responsible for over 3000 of the jobs in the sleepy town and it was his uncanny ability to sell that kept his company competative with the biggest players on the market, including the cutthroat, Ray Zalinsky “the auto parts king”. Big Tom was loved by all and when he died, the news reported that Sandusky attended his funeral.

Yet today I am not honoring Big Tom, but rather his son, Thomas Callahan. Thomas never had his fathers business sense and when the company was passed on to him, there were many who feared all was lost. In fact, within a few months Thomas Callahan was booted out of the company by the board of directors. Ray Zalinsky and his lawyers had been waiting for this moment and swooped in like vultures as soon as Thomas Callahan was gone.

And this is one of the great moments in history. This is a moment you may remember. It was shown live on the news and made national headlines in the summer of 1995. Thomas Callahan strapped on a fake suicide vest and forced his way into the board meeting where his fathers company was only moments away from being sold. He had arranged for a local news caster to follow him in with camera rolling. In one of the most brilliant speeches ever, Thomas revealed his vest was only road flares and then, before the police arrived, he was able to persuade Ray Zalinsky to order a half a million break pads from Callahan Auto, which would essentially save the company. With the TV camera rolling, Ray, who always claimed he was on the side of “the American Working Man”, agreed to the sale.

Though Thomas Callahan spent a few days in jail for his shenanigans and had to deal with a large amount of legal issues around the fake suicide vest, in the end he carried on the legacy of his father and singlehandedly saved the sleepy town of Sandusky Ohio. Thomas never allowed his circumstances to dictate his mood or his dreams. Thomas lived life Awake and though his antics weren”t always the most responsible, he was willing to step out and risk when the moment presented itself.

So, today I dedicate this post to Thomas Callahan, a man who truly lived FULLY AWAKE.


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