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This Memorial was set up after Captain Thomas J. Heitmann died while serving his country.
Thomas was a man who possessed many talents. He was a man of honor, courage, and excellence. Prior to being a United States Marine Corps pilot, he was an all-star track athlete at St. Bede Academy. Thomas had a passion for running, and he excelled at it.
The Captain Thomas John Heitmann Memorial consists of family and friends who would like to fulfill Thomas’ dream of a track and field facility at St. Bede Academy.
Thomas' success in college and in the Marine Corps was a direct result of Thomas' experience in track. He realized and understood that breaking down physical and mental barriers led to accomplishing goals and breaking school records. Despite not having a track to practice on, Thomas developed into a star runner. In 2001 he ran on the 3200 meter relay and placed fourth at the State Level. He was named the News Tribune Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year after his senior season in 2002, and that same year he earned a fourth-place medal in the 800 meter run at the IHSA Class A State Track and Field Meet. Thomas also still holds two of the Academy’s track and field records.
The knowledge Thomas gained from track carried throughout his life in other accomplishments he was able achieve. Thomas had often thought and dreamed about getting a track built at St. Bede in order to help and inspire future student athletes. Thomas realized that the disadvantage St. Bede runners have in comparison to other track programs in the area, is the lack of a training facility. So in 2010 Thomas reached out to his former High School track coach via email to see what could be done to start a fundraising campaign.
Tragically Thomas is not able to see this dream through. He was killed on September 19, 2011 during a training exercise while flying an AH-1W Cobra helicopter at Camp Pendleton, CA. Now, Thomas' family and friends are picking up the baton and moving forward with Thomas' dream. Having a facility that would benefit student athletes, and would also bring the community together would be fitting to Thomas' character - he was always a person that helped others.
Help us to make Thomas' dream come
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Make a donation directly from your bank account or credit card. Be sure to specify that it is for the Thomas J. Heitmann Memorial.
To build a track and field facility at St. Bede Academy requires many donors. Your help will provide student athletes of St. Bede a proper place to train, run and host community events. We have a couple fundraisers under our belt, but we need more help, and that's where you come in.
While you can volunteer with us directly, there's much you can do on your own. Contact us to learn more about opportunities and ideas for donating, fundraising and involving your business.