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Heart On Wheels: Amazin' Stories from the Life of Tommy Hicks 1954-2017

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Big Man (Tommy) & Big Blue (car). Photo By: Tim Luckadoo

On Friday, September 28 at 5pm, family and friends featured in the just released book, Heart on Wheels: Amazin' Stories from the Life of Tommy Hicks 1954-2017, by author Pat Jobe, will celebrate the release of the book at Next Door Books on Thomas Street in Forest City. Free and open to the public, this event will feature readings and personal stories about the man that touched so many lives.

Jobe, one of Tommy's long time friends and co-workers, says the book is a compilation of shared memories of Tommy's closest friends and family. "My hope is that attendees, whether they knew Tommy or not, will get taste of what a remarkably brilliant, funny, and doggedly determined person he was. He used a wheelchair for 40 years. He had great difficulty with the simplest of human functions. Yet he was never bitter. More than one person I interviewed said he had more fun out of life than most people who didn't have a disability. I would only add to that most people do have some kind of disability. We paint ourselves into corners of frustration, anger, fear, judgment. Tommy painted himself Duke blue and laughed almost from the cradle to the grave. He was one of those people who knew how to party even in the smallest of crowds. He did battle depression. Who wouldn't with his challenges? But he never let depression win. He made joy the ultimate winner. He had a blast and if one reader catches a spark of that, I will be thrilled."

"The book is the result of an extraordinary exchange of love. It often showed up as hilarious laughter, enormous tomfoolery, good times, practical jokes, furious frustration expressed at outcomes of sporting events, and other events and noises that some people might misinterpret as not being very loving. It was all love: a love for life, a love for winning, a love for other people. Frieda Sellers said so well, 'He had an infinite capacity for love.' But it is not just the love that Tommy Hicks gave to so many who crossed his path. He inspired so many to love him, to be inspired by him, to put aside their own petty complaints and do their best in the face of life's frustrations." said Jobe. "His three sisters, one of his nephews and one niece contributed mightily to the book. The book also includes the eulogy from Christy Jackson whose mother, Frieda Sellers, was a lifelong love of Tommy's. Easily 20-25 friends contributed great interviews."

Another upcoming event, scheduled for Saturday, October 13, 2-4pm in the afternoon at East Rutherford High School Cafeteria will provide an opportunity to pick up a copy of the book and honor Tommy Hicks' memory and contributions to the students and staff at ERHS. Hicks served as the President of the Class of 1972 and is a member of the ERHS Athletic Hall of Fame. "He was the manager of the basketball team, but Coach Hamrick and Coach Beason both treated him like a full assistant coach. Hamrick says in the book that he was as critical to the 1972 state championship as any of the players. Hicks maintained friendships with all the players from that team, especially Dan Philbeck and Keith Harrill. Harrill and another of our friends, Burwell Byers, ate lunch with Tommy nearly every Thursday for many of the last years he was with us." added Jobe.

Copies of the book are now at Nyla Beans and Fiction Addiction in Greenville, Smith's Drugs, Next Door Books, Drop In #2, Hardin's Drug, Vassey Hemphill Jewelers and Hill's Hardware in Rutherford County and Got Books in Shelby. Also the offices of Rutherford Weekly and Shelby Shopper and can also be found at online at www.wordpress/heart-on-wheels-amazin'-stories-from-the-life-of-tommy-hicks-1954-2017-by-pat-jobe

"When he passed last September, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had been so close to a truly remarkable human being. Within weeks of his passing, I started writing, contacting friends and family and looking at old writings of his and our correspondence with each other. It feels like among the most important work ever handed to me."

- Pat Jobe, classmate and lifelong friend of Tommy

"I've come home drenched in experience, connection, and friendship, and have remained up late to read Pat's triumph--twice. Laughing. Crying. Re-reading. I know somewhere Tommy is giving Jobe the nod. Some of us have received the impact of the Hicks' eyes penetrating above glasses, curled lip nod. Jobe knows that nod. It's been a good day. "Amazin'"

- Teresa Price, longtime friend of Tommy

"Tommy Hicks gave much of his life to supporting Duke basketball. He was an unapologetic fan, the kind of fan that creates so much of our success. I'm sorry he is no longer with us, but this book will keep his memory alive and be a great source of joy to so many of his friends and family. When I think of the number of times he rolled his wheelchair into an arena hosting the ACC tournament, it inspires me to keep coaching winning teams at Duke."

- Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in the history of Division I College basketball

"When Pat Jobe told me he wanted to write a book about Tommy Hicks, I thought he was nuts and told him so. Like Pat, I was privileged to know Tommy for 57 years. 'In order to understand anything about Tommy Hicks, you had to be there', I told him. Even though Pat is one of the best writers I know, I doubted that even he could find the right words to explain the Amazin' Tommy Mac Hicks to anyone who did not know him personally. Well, thankfully, I was wrong. Heart on Wheels is a wonderful collection of stories about Tommy Hicks that will move readers to laugh, cry, think, and wish they could spend a day with Tommy, whether they knew him or not. Pat was the perfect person to collect and re-tell these stories, and deserves much thanks for capturing the essence of the Amazin' Tommy Hicks."

- Tim Luckadoo, lifelong friend of Tommy

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