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It is with Great Sadness

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It is with Great Sadness

Postby Indian Summer » 05 24, 2024 •  [Post 1]

With a very heavy heart I just wanted to tell you guys that I lost my elk hunting partner this week. He was a great man, father, husband and friend. Tom Grates was 56 years old. He was one of a kind. I spoke to him this past Sunday evening around 8:30. He was working at a VFW in preparation for what is one of the biggest motorcycle ride/charity events in the Pittsburgh area. Tom was the founder and president of the Ride for Homeless Vets. To date his organization has raised nearly half a million dollars. Quite a bit of that was raised by auctioning autographed guitars donated by famous musicians like Ted Nugent, Charlie Daniels, the members of Alabama and many more. He became personal friends with those people over the years and all he had to do was ask and the items were signed and on their way to his house. He lives 10 minutes from that VFW. He never made it home. I got a call at 10:12 the next morning from his phone. It was his son Tommy informing me that his dad had died the night before. I was devastated.

About 6 years ago I asked Tom if he was interested in joining me on an elk hunt. He had never hunted elk or anything out in the western states. The first hunt he went on was interesting. His gear wasn’t cut out for the rigors of mountain hunting and neither was he. He later told me that there were days where he nearly told me to go on without him. The first night we said camp was bitter cold and he later told me he didn’t know if he should have faith in me or go get a hotel room. He had lots to learn. After setting camp, he looked at me and smiled and said it must be 70° in here! The rest is history. The following season, he was in much better shape after losing lots of weight. He also invested in every single piece of gear that I owned as well as a brand new rifle. Tom didn’t do anything half throttle. If he was going to commit to something he did it right or didn’t do it at all. He killed several bulls in a row and was off to a great start. In the meantime, his two sons were accumulating preference points. Next year, 2025, we were all supposed to go out together. Tom‘s dream was to take his boys elk hunting. So now I am obligated to fulfill that drain for him. Tom had friends everywhere. He went full throttle whether it was through business or pleasure. There was not a dry eye in the house at his funeral this morning. So if you could say a prayer for his family. They were very strong today especially his daughter Alexis.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Swede » 05 24, 2024 •  [Post 2]

I too am saddened about his passing. Will pray for his family and you.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby 7mmfan » 05 24, 2024 •  [Post 3]

Wow, that's brutal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his excerpts from your hunts. He seemed like a genuine individual, and your comment about him doing everything full throttle seems to be fitting. I'm vey sorry for your, and his family's, loss.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 05 24, 2024 •  [Post 4]

So sorry to hear that Joe. Thoughts and prayers go out to Toms family and friends as they go through this unimaginable tragedy…. Way, way too young to go :cry:
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Elkhunttoo » 05 24, 2024 •  [Post 5]

So sorry about your loss…prayers for you and the family
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Lefty » 05 25, 2024 •  [Post 6]

Always sad to lose those close hunting companions.
Get his boys out for some new memories

And prayers for his family of peace and comfort
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Thegreatwapiti » 05 25, 2024 •  [Post 7]

Thanks for the reality check, IS. So sorry for your loss and for Tom's family. PEACE
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby >>>---WW----> » 05 26, 2024 •  [Post 8]

I know how hard it is to lose a great hunting buddy. But I found peace in realizing these words.

(He's not gone! He's just scouting out heaven for our next big adventure together !) God rest his soul.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Tigger » 05 28, 2024 •  [Post 9]

So sorry to hear this Joe. We can never take a day for granted.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby 2MANY » 05 30, 2024 •  [Post 10]

What a bummer but what a great cause he promoted.
I'm sure he raised great kids that will forever prosper from their up bringing.
You made his last many years good ones.

Gonna be some tears shed in the elk woods this year.
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Re: It is with Great Sadness

Postby Old school » 06 11, 2024 •  [Post 11]

Sorry to hear this news Joe. Will pray for all those affected by Tom’s passing.
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