“When I was afforded the opportunity to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment by my Drill Sergeant during Basic Training, I seized the opportunity. I wanted to become a part of something special and purposeful. “ — SGT (Ret.) Tom Block
After graduating from Waseca High School in Minnesota, Tom spent 4 years wrestling for State University at Mankato. In February 2010, Tom enlisted. Tom was inspired by his family’s life-long involvement in public service. His grandfather served in World War II with the Marines in the Pacific; stepfather was in the 82nd Airborne and as a Sheriff Deputy for the county he grew up in; his mother was a teacher, and his father volunteered his services often in time of need. “When I was afforded the opportunity to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment by my Drill Sergeant during Basic Training, I seized the opportunity. I wanted to become a part of something special and purposeful.”On October 5, 2013, SGT Block was severely injured on a mission in southern Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. The injuries that he suffered included the loss of his right eye, limited vision in his left eye, multiple shrapnel and burn wounds, a collapsed left lung, and a broken foot.
“I was treated at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD for over a month, and the Lead the Way Fund was able to assist with transportation costs for my family to be there to support me during my recovery. When I finally returned to Fort Benning, I moved into a house because the barracks were not wheelchair accessible. The Lead the Way Fund was able to provide the means to set up a fence in the yard for my dog. They also supplied me with a TV that is large enough for me to see, which is set up to our computer and will allow me to complete my degree. And then again, when I was named the 2014 Military Times’ Soldier of the Year, the Lead The Way Fund was there to show support.” Tom is currently in the middle of an internship with the Department of Homeland Security H.E.R.O Program. At the end of the internship, his hopes are to continue his work with them.
Tom medically retired 28 February 2016 and lives in Massachusetts with his wife Janine and their two dogs Jany and CSar. In May 2019, Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, along with Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, turned over the keys to a mortgage free, completely accessible home to suit Tom’s specific needs.