Watch Tom's story shown on Channel 10 news, Tuesday 7 June 2016 here.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (WA) is mourning the loss of one of its longest serving volunteers, Tom Fisher OAM, who passed at the weekend (Saturday 4 June), aged 95.
Only weeks after leaving the HMAS Sydney, Tom lost all his mates after it was sunk and lost in 1941 - one of Australia’s greatest naval tragedies. It was only recovered in 2008 after renewed efforts to bring closure to the mystery.
Tom made a promise that if he survived the war he would dedicate the rest of his life in the service of others and that is exactly what he did.
St Vincent de Paul Society CEO Mark Fitzpatrick said the community had lost a loyal and selfless gentleman who had helped hundreds of people during his amazing life.
“Tom's commitment to the Society and the work we do cannot be overstated,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“Whether as a member, Conference President, Regional President, State President, or Society archivist and historian, Tom never stopped giving.
“Tom was a loving, giving man who had a cheeky, brilliant and extremely funny sense of humour that made us all laugh and enjoy his company. There are not many people who we have come across that touch our spirit in such a beautiful way as Tom did.
“A homeless service named in Tom’s honour is to be officially opened in August and we wish that he could have seen this project come to fruition, but we know his wife Shirley and his family will be proud to be part of the this significant occasion.
“Tom so chuffed to learn that a homeless shelter would be named in his honour and it will be a living testament to his life of kindness and generosity to the community he served so selflessly,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
He was the first to open a pantry in his home in 1980 to provide food and clothing to people in need.
“Tom Fisher was a State treasure and we will be forever grateful for all that he has done for the people of WA on behalf of the St Vincent de Paul Society,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“His wife Shirley has been equally as generous, dedicating years of volunteer service to Vinnies and our thoughts are with her and the family at this sad time.
“The community has lost a true gentleman. We will make sure his legacy will live on through Tom Fisher House which helps rough sleeping individuals and couples,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Photo: Tom Fisher collecting in his last Street Appeal for Vinnies.