This website will be closing
end of September 2018
Its 10th Anniversary!
OH, WHAT A LIFE!
Tommy passed away 4/27/2017 Updates will be posted when available.
Davis Funeral Home will be handling the graveside service which will be held
on May 4, 2017 @ 2:00 PM, Euchee Valley Cemetery, east of Cushing.
"The Maker" was one of Tommy's favorite songs. RIP, dear friend.
September 11, 2001 - Tom watched the terrifying event unfold on TV
with other Americans in the Parkcity Hotel lobby in Bintulu, Malaysia.
written by Peggy Randall-Martin
August 5, 2008
It's easy to get Tom talking about his children, grandkids and the work he does. Getting him to talk about himself is a whole different ballgame! In light of that, I feel that I learned a great deal about Tom Samuels through his spoken/written words and his patience with me and continuing cooperation.
Tom's life, after graduating from Cushing High School with the Class of 1963 and receiving a degree in construction from San Jacinto College, reads like a veritable travel guide. One of the most interesting stories that Tom shared with me centered around 9/11.
Tom had only been working in Malaysia for one month prior to September 11, 2001. On that tragic day, he watched CNN report on the terrifying event on a TV screen along with other Americans in the Parkcity Hotel lobby in Bintulu.* Tom said, "My first concern, at that first sight, was my family back in the United States with airspace shut down." He went on to say that they were briefed by the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia as news became available to them. Tom emphasized that there was no panic and explained that politics in Malaysia is "really low key."
"For about a month after 9/11, all KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) employees had night drills in the hotel to test the time it would take to get out of Bintulu and what roads to take with security. One of our main concerns," Tom said, "was the possibility of having to evacuate to another country." He explained that Americans were concerned for their families and worried the Malaysia airports would close and they would have to depend on the U.S. Embassy to get them home. Tom said if that had happened they probably would have been flown to Japan first and then home to the USA and air transport would probably have been U.S. military. Tom was pleased that the evacuation did not have to take place.
Tom went on to say, "All in all there was no real danger as we were on Borneo Island on the East side of Malaysia and that was safer than the Indonesia side of the island where 'lots of trouble' occurred. All U.S. citizens were evacuated from Indonesia due to the killings and kidnappings that took place as an anti-American show of force triggered by 9/11. When you travel in foreign countries, you are always in touch with the nearest U.S. Embassy. Now it is done online with your laptop. Not much to tell; but I will always remember that day."
For about 6 months following 9/11, Tom and his co-workers were allowed to go to and from work, but nowhere else. Tom left Malaysia at the end of 2004 after spending approximately 4 years there.
Tom's early journey towards overseas employment began after college when he worked for the USAEC (US ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISION) for two years as a Welding Consultant - welding the casing for the underground tests in Mercury, Nevada (35 megaton) and Amchitka Island, Alaska (100 megaton: 10,000 times larger than the WWII Japan atom bombs 17,000 kilotons) the largest ever tested at 7,280 ft. underground.
Later, Tom worked with the Ironworkers Union out of Oklahoma City as a Welding/Construction Superintendent. Then he went overseas where he worked for M.W. Kellogg Co. in South Korea, Indonesia, Algeria, and then back to the USA, where they built a motel in Stroud, OK and Rosehill General Store near Cushing, OK on Hwy. 99. Then Tom worked as Project Inspector for the Farm Fresh Dairy Factory and Co-America Bank from 1984 until 1988 in Chandler, OK. That is when he went back to work for Kellogg Co. building refineries in Texas, Louisiana, California, Iowa, back overseas to Venezuela, Chile, Aruba, Algeria, West Africa, Malaysia Borneo Island and Qatar 3 ½ years.
There was a time during Tom's overseas employment that his brother, Kenneth, was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and stationed in Germany. Tom would fly in to visit Kenneth inside the Berlin Wall. When I asked Tom if he crossed or attempted to cross to the outside of 'the wall,' he assured me that probably would not have been a good idea because there would be no assurance of crossing back.
Tom concluded our interview by saying, "I plan to spend my retirement years traveling in the USA by motor home about 6 months a year and overseas about 6 months. I have met many good people and visited many places throughout the world and would like to take more time to go back and visit them again. I have visited: Thailand, Japan, Hawaiian Islands, Singapore, England, Berlin, France, Greece, Pakistan, India, the Vatican in Rome, Taiwan, Holland, West Africa, Switzerland, Spain, Argentina and Sri Lanka. I now have a new 2nd home in the rain forest of Borneo, complete with maid service and a new Toyota van to drive when I am there. I go there as much as I can for vacation every 3 months. It is one of the last great sights left in the world where nature is all around you. I am single after two times married, and have 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and a lot of money made and spent. I feel like a teenager and look forward to retirement"
Wow! How many of us can say that and mean it? Tom also has a house in Broken Bow, OK. His retirement "will include a motor home in the USA and 6 months a year in the rain forest of BORNEO** with the native people there." Oh, what a life!
Tom is currently working on a job in California for Conoco-Phillips.
* Bintulu is a coastal town, and the capital of Bintulu District (7,220.4 square kilometers) in the Bintulu Division of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is about 650 kilometers from Kuching and about 215 kilometers from either Sibu or Miri .Some remnants of natural rainforest still exist near Bintulu ... From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
** Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. Administratively, this island is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Indonesia's region of Borneo is called "Kalimantan" (although Indonesians use the term for the whole island), while Malaysia's region of Borneo is called East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo. The independent nation of Brunei occupies the remainder of the island. Brunei is the wealthiest state in the island of Borneo. The island historically had extensive rainforest cover, but the area shrank rapidly due to heavy logging for the needs of the Malaysian plywood industry.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Two of Tom's favorite songs:
"Castles In The Air" by Don McLean. DOWNLOAD THE SONG HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Castles-In-The-Air/dp/B000TE773A
"The Maker" by Chris August. DOWNLOAD THE SONG HERE: https://www.amazon.com/The-Maker/dp/B00U0V0ZWC/