The Tabor Challenge was created to honor the memory of LTJG Thomas Cameron by rewarding athletically and academically exemplary seniors at Grover Cleveland High School with a college scholarship that will inspire them to achieve. We believe that encouraging young athletes to pursue higher education will empower them to make a difference in their community. Thomas embodied this belief; he showed us that scholastic and athletic success was the merit of formidable personal qualities, like leadership, integrity, smarts, passion and teamwork. Moreover, he inspired others to succeed by encouraging classmates, teammates, friends and perfect strangers—his lasting impact will not be forgotten.
In addition to being a star athlete in three sports, Thomas excelled academically, which he worked hard to achieve. After graduating high school with countless accolades, he was accepted into the esteemed United States Coast Guard Academy. It was there that Thomas honed his leadership capabilities and became captain of the USCGA soccer team, a role that blended three qualities he valued most: education, athletics and camaraderie. While enrolled at the academy, Thomas pursued his dream of serving his country by becoming a helicopter pilot, and thus continued his life’s mission to help people.
In 2012 Thomas lost his life when his helicopter went down during a Coast Guard training mission. His sudden absence was immediately felt throughout the community he inspired so much. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the outpouring of support by all who had the pleasure of knowing Thomas was palpable—a testament to the number of people who were touched by his caring spirit. After drying our tears, we memorialized Thomas by renovating the clubhouse at Cleveland High School field.
The Tabor Challenge expands on what we started in renovating the Cleveland clubhouse by creating real opportunity for deserving members of the senior class at Cleveland High School. Indeed, the proceeds of this annual run will fund scholarships for students who regularly demonstrate the virtues that were so important to Thomas. Thomas would agree that success on the field and in the classroom is essential, but no more important than being kind and fair, which are the hallmarks of a true role model. We hope the Tabor Challenge will inspire students to fulfill their potential and follow their dreams—just like Thomas Cameron.