Village of Westmont
Date Issued: June 13, 2014
On Tuesday, June 3, U.S. Army Major Tom Bessler, a lifelong resident of Westmont, returned home for a two-week leave from his current deployment in Afghanistan. He was not expecting the welcome home he received. “It was overwhelming,” says Bessler. “I was completely surprised to see my family, friends and the whole town welcoming me home.”
Westmont resident Chris Svitak, a member of the Warriors Watch Riders (WWR), was a driving force behind coordinating a surprise welcome home. Svitak worked with Westmont Police, Fire, Village staff, and the local business community to coordinate a surprise welcome at Oakbrook Hills Hotel and then a parade-like escort through the community to his home. The WWR is a nationwide organization that monitors when troops return home so that they can provide them with a warm welcome of appreciation and gratitude.
Bessler was then invited to attend the June 12 Village Board meeting, at which he received a standing ovation from the more than 100 people in attendance. When asked what was the first thing he wanted to do when he got back, his response was to get some L & F Pizza.
Bessler enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987. He served four years in the infantry, then two years in reserves. He was in the R.O.T.C from 1996 to 1998, after which he became a U.S. Army Officer. Bessler has earned a Bachelors and Masters degree from Western Illinois University. Bessler’s visit is a two week leave, and then he resumes his current deployment in Afghanistan.
On behalf of the Village of Westmont, we thank Major Bessler and all of the men and women who serve our country. “The people of Westmont are wonderful,” says Bessler. “Westmont has always been a loving and patriotic community, that’s why I love Westmont!”
Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont Communications Director