From the first moment I met Tom Dwyer, I sensed in him someone who was fiercely committed to vulnerable children. And as I came to know him, I also understood that he was passionate about the people who dedicated their lives to the work of supporting children and their families. Tom was uncommonly spirited about his lifelong work in child welfare and endeavored to push those fortunate enough to work with him to a different and higher standard of what we needed to do. He had a distinct resolve to have the tough conversations about what needed to be different and he did this with a knowledge and acumen that stood apart. He was a man who was deeply compassionate about the complexities of child welfare work and he continued to live out a commitment to this work through his retirement.
In the coming days, you will undoubtedly hear of the many accolades that marked his life and will be his legacy. And you will hear that he was an impressive man and yet those accolades do not always capture the character of the person. For Tom was one of the strongest and at the same time kindest people I have known. He built remarkable relationships with others through his years and has consistently been a valuable counsel to countless people including myself. For those of us who have known him, we have also known his incredible wife Rosemary. In fact, you cannot think of Tom without thinking of Rosemary. Their love and devotion to one another and their daughter Katie, is like that of fairy tales made real.
I am grateful to Tom and Rosemary for the person that I am today…I have been changed by knowing them. They pushed me to think about myself and the work of child welfare…in ways that I would not have done without them.