Yesterday whilst attending a Business Networking Event run by the Hornsby Business Alliance, I had the pleasure of meeting a very fit, unassuming and humble young bloke by the name of Tom Kowpak. Tom was born and bred in the Hornsby area, just behind the RSL in fact, and attended the local school St. Leo's College. In growing up he developed a passion for the outdoors, camping and hiking and was a very active member in the local scouts. More recently Tom got serious about mountain climbing and contacted Jamie McGuiness (a Kiwi four time Everest summit achiever) about climbing the Northern col of Everest. Jamie explained it would be advisable, cheaper and more fun to join him on his upcoming Aconcagua expedition in South America. Aconcagua stands at a little under 7000M, whilst Everest is 8,848M. So, to cut a long story short, Tom completed the Aconcagua expedition which only fuelled his passion to tackle Everest, and his performance on Aconcagua convinced Jamie that achieving Everest was well within his capabilities.
I asked Tom whether he had a specific reason for attempting Everest and he explained that after a hospital stint several years ago, where he witnessed another patient suffering a stroke, he develloped a desire to raise awareness of Stroke affliction and to do what he could to raise funds to combat the condition.
Further discussion also revealed Tom has a habit of stripping down to his Bonds undies when he reaches a major summit for a photo opportunity. He does not think Everest will allow him to partake in this unusual ritual as it will take about 20 minutes to get all the layers back on, not to mention frostbite.
I am amazed that dedicated, compassionate achievers such as Tom are living in our midsts, and are going about achieving incredible things with little or no fanfare. How many more Tom's do we have in Hornsby? We would love to hear about other local heroes and would be happy to publicise their achievements. To find out more about Tom and his upcoming expedition to Everest, or to sponsor Tom for this worthy cause, go to http://kowp.com.au/
Go for it Tom! You are a local hero!