The Clarksburg community remembers a friend and fighter

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Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - After struggling with health problems for years, Tommy “Franco” Thomas died on October 31.

Tommy grew up in Summit Park, West Virginia, and became West Virginia’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1979 to 1986.

However, most of the Clarksburg community knew Tommy as the Clarksburg Police Department’s DARE officer.

Tommy’s wife Susan said he combined two of his greatest passions which brought him so much joy.

“He started a boxing gym. He wanted to help kids with anger issues. It was free. He really enjoyed working with the kids,” she told 5 News.

Tommy Thomas Boxing Club at the Clarksburg Recreation Center was a free place for kids in the community to learn how to box and find a safe way to get out their aggression.

One of the coaches at the club, Tim Wheeler, shared he was honored to get the opportunity to be trained to box by his role model.

“Tommy used to run by my house whenever he was training. He would always holler. When I was a kid, he would see me in town in Shinnston and pick me up in his cruiser and take me home instead of me walking home,” he explained.

Susan said kids in the community loved Tommy just as much as she knew he loved them.

“When we used to go out, say to dinner or something, kids would come up and hug him. That’s how you know that he touched someone, and that touched my heart,” she added.

Tommy would be remembered in the community as a friend and fighter.

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