Tom Ufert, a 46-year-old quadriplegic afflicted with three different disabilities is an inspirational voice in our troubled times. He received his bachelor of arts in political science and history as a scholarship recipient from Centenary College of Louisiana. Tom is a former Rotary International graduate Fellow who attended Australian National University in Canberra, ACT, specializing in East Asian political affairs and was a White House Fellow nominee. He is a former Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern and constituency aid for two former United States members of Congress. His past services for 11 political campaigns on both sides of the aisle were highly valued by former Louisiana Governor Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Henson Moore the former assistant chief of staff to U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the present U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ron Kirk.
At age 23 he was the youngest artistic Board Chairman in the United States as head of the Shreveport Summer Music Festival. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. Over the years he has acquired extensive customer service experience in the food and beverage, hotel, insurance, home security, and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. His professional memberships include Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Worldwide Who’s Who. In recent years he has worked tirelessly as a volunteer fundraiser for numerous AIDS charities in his community and served briefly as the community affairs liaison for Legacy Founders Cottage. Tom Ufert, a native of Louisiana, now resides in Texas.
“Character is learned, but also earned, and adversity is the harshest, yet most effective teacher in the school of life.
Tom Ufert is one such individual. He is a man who has stood up to adversity. He has not allowed life to define him, but rather taken it all in and used it to build his own character. He has used life to define himself.
In his novel, Adversity Builds Character, Tom openly talks about his life and the adversity he has faced.
When we are old, we can look back and clearly see the crossroads that marked the major turning points in our lives. For Tom, there will be two that stand out from the crowd. One involving his mother and her long battle with MS; and the other was the period where he himself was diagnosed with MS, paralyzed as the result of a car crash and diagnosed with HIV. Three instances which, when encountered individually, would be enough to send most people reeling; but when delivered all together, as happened to Tom, there would surely be many people who gave up the fight and consigned themselves to their fate.
This is not Tom, and this is not the message he is giving in his book Adversity Builds Character.
Tom stood firm in the face of adversity, one could even say that he smiled wryly at it. Life is a challenge, a game, and while the rules changed, Tom Ufert has demonstrated that we can adapt ourselves to the new rules, we can still play the game, and above all, we can still win.
While it is a personal tale being told, Tom Ufert is writing to show others that no matter what happens in life, whatever adversity you face, there is always a choice. Give up, or fight on. Tom chose to fight, and after reading Adversity Builds Character, I am sure you will, too.
Thank you for joining us on this stage of the tour, I hope you will join us again tomorrow at the home of Catie Rhodes for an exclusive interview with the author.
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Setbacks are a part of life. They are unavoidable and often defining moments— instances that will test our love, our bonds, and our faith. Some people will push on through this adversity, others will fall, lose themselves, and a small few will rise, they will meet these moments head on and not just get through, but flourish.”
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