Tom Weiss lived by the Scout oath and law, inspiring others to do the same [UPDATED]Published 9:30am Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Updated 11:39am Tuesday, December 4, 2012
When Tom Weiss died suddenly on Jan. 5, 2012, at 53, he left behind a legacy of doing good — evident throughout his Fergus Falls community and among those who live there:
A cleaned-up Otter Tail River bank, a well-stocked Fergus Falls food shelf, a litter-free adopted stretch of highway near his home, a thriving Moccasin Valley non-profit camping facility.
And, most gratifying to Weiss, a community of young men who espouse strong values and the benefit of life lessons learned as boys through the thriving Boy Scouts program he helped build.
Since Tom was a CPA and heavily involved with Boy Scouts Troop 304 in Fergus Falls, Stuart Klovstad and Gina Ice, nominated him for the public service award given by the Minnesota Society of CPA’s. Weiss was posthumously awarded the MNCPA Public Service Award for 2012 during an awards ceremony in St. Paul in September.
By trade, Tom Weiss was a senior financial analyst for the Otter Tail Power Company (OTPCo), where a tree was planted in memory of the kind and gracious man who colleagues say always made time for them and selflessly gave to others.
Outside of work, Weiss was a public servant committed to making his community and the lives of young people in it better. It’s for this outstanding work that the MNCPA honors Thomas Frederick Weiss posthumously as its Public Service Award recipient for 2012.
Instilling values, living the Scout law
Weiss became involved in Boy Scouts in 1999 when his son Brett became a Cub Scout. Seeing the positive influence the organization had on Brett and the influence Girl Scouts had on his daughter Nikki, being involved was his way of giving back and helping kids become contributing citizens.
Over the years, he became increasingly engaged in and passionate about the organization. From organizing events and initiating new ones, to serving in leadership positions locally and in his district, Weiss was committed to providing growth opportunities for local boys.
Stuart Klovstad, Weiss’ supervisor at OTPCo said his commitment to giving back was similar to his
commitment at work.
“Tom was always 100-percent committed,” he said. “If you wanted something done right and on time, Tom was your man. He brought that same work ethic and passion to every
organization he was involved with, including Boy Scouts.”
As the boys in Troup 304 grew under Weiss’ leadership, guidance and enthusiasm, so too did participation. During his tenure, the troop expanded from just four boys to 21, with seven boys earning the Eagle Scout badge.
Perhaps the reason the organization and its mission resonated so deeply with Tom is because it promotes values he already held dear and practiced daily.
“It was an extension of how he lived his life each day,” said his wife, Cindy. “And his passion for scouting rubbed off on everyone he came in contact with. He took every opportunity to teach them to love the outdoors and to be respectful of everything in this world.”
Today, that passion and the difference Tom Weiss made are his legacy.
“At the end of our lives, we would all like to think that we have made a significant impact on our community and on at least a few people around us,” said Gina Ice, Weiss’ co-worker and friend at OTPCo. “I can say without a doubt that Tom Weiss lived his life to the fullest and positively impacted not only many young scouts’ lives, but also those of his co-workers. He truly lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law day in and day out. His legacy of hard work, genuine concern for others, dedication and giving back to our community will not be forgotten.”