Dads shaping lives

Tom Page coaching his son Jacob before a big match.

In the spirit of Father’s Day which lands on June 20th this year, we have put together an article that mentions the word dad several times. It will highlight how fathers make an impact in our lives as well as the lives of others every day. Hope you enjoy it. In 1986, Tool & Die Journeyman Tom Page’s dad, Tom Sr. lost his job at Bethlehem Steel. Quick to support his family, Tom’s dad took a job as a school bus driver at Frontier High School. After his shift he would make his way into Frontier High School gym to watch his son Tom at wrestling practice. The older Page was a successful wrester in his younger days and was still interested in the sport. Over time, Tom Sr. became more involved in volunteering his time to help the head coach run the practices. During that time Machine Repair Leader Keith Thurnherr was also on Frontier’s wrestling team. Keith mentioned that Tom Sr. was a great mentor and coach. Tom summed it up in a few words, great dad.

Keith Thurnherr with Dillion, one of his most successful Hamburg wrestlers.

Soon the elder Page’s skills were being noticed, and Tom Sr. accepted a coaching position at Eden High School. The younger Page smiled when telling us that he had to wrestle against his dad’s team in his senior year. After graduation, Tom and Keith continued to take the tools that the elder Page provided and got involved in coaching. Today both are wrestling coaches. Tom is the head coach at Eden High School while Keith is an assistant coach at Hamburg High School. Both coaches have experienced success. Tom had 16 young men earn a trip to the state championships with all placing, 2 were finalist with one becoming state champion. The biggest thrill for Tom was the opportunity to coach his two boys. Both were also successful wrestlers who have grown up to become out-standing men. Thomas, a scholarship winner was featured in 2012 New York Wrestling News. His 4 years at American University earned him captain of the team in his senior year. Tom, also proudly shared that his younger son Jacob is currently serving in the US army and training to become a Rappel Master.

Thomas Sr. with Tom Page’s eldest son Tommy with his very first 1st place trophy.

Tom, because that is what dads do, wanted me to make sure I mentioned his daughter Jessica. Tom feels that she was the best athlete in the family who excelled in gymnastics. Jessica went on to Gannon University where she competed on the acrobatics and tumbling team. Keith Thurnherr had 6 wrestlers earn their way to the state championships. He is the proud dad of two beautiful women Paige and Taylor. Both are former high school cheerleaders and pole-vaulters. Paige played soccer at Hamburg and Taylor competed in gymnastics where she won the sectionals and then placed 3rd in the NYS Championship. She went on to win a pole-vaulting scholarship to St. Francis, a division one program where she won a conference title. Taylor plans to marry Dante, a wrestler that Keith coached. Soon Dante will be calling coach Keith, dad. Talk about a job interview!

Keith’s dad, BSP retiree Larry Thurnherr helped Keith obtain a job at BSP Ford.

When we asked Tom and Keith, what was the most significant lesson Tom’s dad taught them that they use every day as a coach? Tom simply said it was important that everyone on his team love each other. Keith added that it’s not about winning, its more about building these young men a great foundation that they can use for the rest of their lives. 

Tom with his son Tommy at NYS youth Championships.

Well that brings us to how these two coaches found a career at Buffalo Stamping Plant. Did I mention dad or father lately? Keith’s father Larry Thurnherr was a BSP Ford employee for 30 years who retired in 1994. Keith credits dad for getting him his shot at working for Ford Motor Company. If your old enough to remember Larry, you will recall the hard-working gentleman that everyone adored. Tom Page found his way to Buffalo with the little help from his father-in law and Tool & Die Leader Dan Gretka. Tom always believed that his Father-in -Law worked behind the scenes to help him secure a job at Buffalo. Well there you have it, proud dads helping their kids as well as other kids to make their future better.

Happy Father’s Day!

Keith, coaching his future son-in-law Dante
Keith (left) with the Hamburg wrestling team after winning the St. Francis Tournament.
Tom Page coaching one of the many matches in his 17-year career at Eden high school.
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