This post is about making a difference. I was walking through TKO Graphix breakroom on my way to rinse out my coffee cup in preparation for my 7th cup of the day (hey, I’m not even shaking yet!) when I saw a gentleman with a rolled up decal. There were three letters visible on the decal – ICE so I asked him what department and he answered Advance, Indiana Police. His name is Brad Thomas. He’s the town marshal. I followed up by asking what he was doing at TKO and learned he was waiting for vehicle graphics on his new truck. It wasn’t until later that I learned Brad was making a difference.

A Photo Release

Brad shared how excited he was to get the truck and have TKO design and install graphics. I told him I’d love to take photos of it and share it on our website. He was more than happy to sign a photo release.

The truck is impressive, and the graphics look great. I thought it would be great to share on social media.

I went back to the breakroom and reported on Brad’s truck progress. He said he didn’t want to see it until it was done and all the lights turned on. We chatted for a few minute, and then I asked if there was a story I could write about him or the truck for our blog. It may have been the best question I’ve asked all week. Yes, there’s a story. It’s a story about making a difference.

Brad’s Story

Brad Thomas making a difference.


Brad is a retired IMPD Narcotics officer. He spent 27 years trying to make things better. He worked in Haulville on the west side of Indianapolis. I asked why he retired and he told me he was tired of doing the same thing over and over again with the same results. He wanted to make a difference. So he retired, went back to school for a teaching degree. He earned his teaching certification, but during his student teaching he felt he was wasting his efforts, it wasn’t the impact he wanted to make, so he tried something else.

Brad ended up as the Advance, Indiana town Marshall; it’s where he lives and where his wife is from. And Brad is making a difference in this town of 8 streets and 490 residents. Yes, he is.

Last year when he took over the job one of his first actions was to hand out Pop Tarts to the children of Advance every morning. Next, he started an after-school program in an 800 square foot room (there looking at a building and hoping for the funds to make it happen). I mentioned the town has a population of 490, think about this 45 or more kids show up every day for the after-school program, that’s 10 % of the population.

They do their homework, eat dinner, and then they go outdoors in the fresh air and play. When Brad began the after-school program it was pretty much all on him, now at least ten volunteers show up every night – teachers, preachers, and cooks.

Making a Difference

Brad shared a story about a kindergarten boy who was about to be kicked out of school for stealing food. Brad learned the boy was trying to bring food home. His mom had perished in a car accident (the boy was in the car with her). The boy’s father was struggling. Brad feed the boy and sent food home. The boy is doing great in school. It was at this point that my eyes welled up. Like I said, best question of the week.

For nine months Brad has been talking to a 7th-grade girl every school day. He gives her a Pop Tart and asks her a question, but she never answers.  It seems she has suffered abuse and is afraid to talk to men. Last week she spoke to Brad. I found it very difficult to hold back my tears.

You know how I told you Brad takes the kids outdoors to play? He’d love to connect with NFL Play 60

NFL Play 60. Does anyone have any connections they could share with Brad?

It Gets Even Better

Near the end of our conversation I told Brad how much I appreciated what he was doing and then Brad told me he couldn’t thank Tom ( Tom Taulman II, President and CEO of TKO Graphix) for donating the graphics. Wait what? We donated this? Could this get any better? Best question period. Our community involvement, the heart of TKO is one of the reasons I love my job. No, Brad, we thank you. Keep up the great Work.

Here’s a report about Brad, which aired on local affiliate, Fox 59, Behind the Badge.