Annual remembrance run honors Springfield’s GySgt. Thomas Sullivan | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — A remembrance run was held Sunday in Springfield to commemorate Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J. Sullivan, who lost his life during an attack on a naval reserve in Tennessee.
“For us, it kind of helps him just live on, and it keeps his memory close to us, and it keeps it close for the community,” his brother Joseph Sullivan said.
Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J. Sullivan, better known as Tommy, was born and raised in Springfield.
He was a three-time Purple Heart recipient who served two tours in Iraq.
Six years ago, Sullivan gave his life trying to save fellow Marines in an attack on a Tennessee naval base. And on Sunday, hundreds of community members came together at Nathan Bills for the annual 5K remembrance run.
“We are just trying to carry on his name by supporting the community and raising money for the local Marines, which he was always big about, and for Pope Francis High School because we were Cathedral graduates,” Sullivan explained.
The proceeds benefit the Sullivan Scholarship Fund awarded to Pope Francis seniors as well as the Marine Corps Ball, both causes close to Sullivan’s heart.
His family tells Western Mass News the event gives those that knew Sullivan the opportunity to remember his name and share stories.
“Tommy helped me do this; Tommy rescued me from this; Tommy was there to help me deliver my baby. Maybe some of them are a bit exaggerated over time; I don’t know,” Sullivan said.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was one of those who defines Sullivan as a true hero.
“He put across heroic actions to save many many individuals. He made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up his life to save others,” Sarno said.
His brother echoed the same sentiment.
“Just how he carried himself throughout life, he was always a good guy, always the hero, always looking out for the small person, protecting,” Sullivan said.