SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Communities in western Massachusetts lined along Sumner Avenue in Springfield to pay their respects to Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, one of the 4 marines killed in Chattanooga, TN.
Local residents waved their flags and held salutes along the streets in his honor.
“We just thought we’d come pay our respects. It was real close to our house. I know my boys are really interested in soldiers, and just what all that means,” said Bethany Souza of Springfield.
A hometown hero known as “Tommy”, 40 year-old Sullivan grew up in Springfield, and graduated from Cathedral high school. He was a fan of Dropkick Murphy’s, and loved being an uncle to his nephew and 3 nieces. Sullivan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and was working on getting his Master’s.
Tracy Hillhouse of Springfield told 22News, “I didn’t know him personally, but I did grow up in the same area as him, and we were about the same age. So I’m sure our paths crossed many times. I do have a lot of friends who did know him personally, and my heart goes out to everyone.”
People were holding signs like these along Sumner Avenue. Some, for a man they didn’t know, and some for a man they did.
“An amazing character. He was always there for anybody. A great guy to have by your side in any type of battle. He was born and bred a marine. Couldn’t wait to serve his country. I was very proud of what he did. It’s no surprise to any of his friends he died being a hero,” said Cyndi Giguerel of Springfield
Sullivan did 2 tours in Iraq, and was awarded 2 purple hearts during his service.
Daniel Hill of West Springfield told 22News, “I just wanna pay my respects. My father was a marine, so I can’t even imagine what they’re feeling. Just know that he was a hero and I wanna thank them and him and all the service that he did.”