2003 Larkin High School graduate killed on patrol in Afghanistan

Elgin Courier-News

A graduate of Larkin High School in Elgin was killed after being hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan while on patrol with Afghan forces in a province bordering Pakistan, Pentagon and local school officials said.

Larkin High School teachers, administrators and students honored the memory of Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, a Class of 2003 graduate, according to a release from School District U46.

A moment of silence was held at the high school's homecoming game Friday.

"Adam Thomas is remembered fondly among the Larkin community and I know that the Royals will keep his memory alive," Larkin High School Principal Jon Tuin said Friday.

The Department of Defense said in a news release that Thomas, 31, of Takoma Park, Md., died Tuesday of wounds sustained when his patrol triggered an improvised explosive device.

Thomas was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colo.

As a Larkin High School student, Thomas was involved in the National Honor Society, Photo Club, German Club, Math Team, cross country, track, swimming and Powderpuff Cheer, Tuin said.

Larkin High School English teacher Jennifer Slawski is among those who taught Thomas more than 15 years ago when he was a junior in her Advanced Placement English class.

"He was brilliantly exceptional as a student and as a person, willing to help his peers, elevating the class with his contributions," Slawski said. "He held the highest respect of all teachers who knew him at Larkin."

The district will lower flags upon receiving official notification from the governor's office, school officials said. Flags will remain lowered through the sunset of Oct. 20, the day of Sgt. Thomas' funeral.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Sgt. Thomas," said District U46 CEO Tony Sanders. "We mourn the loss of a brave and dedicated soldier across our U46 community."

Col. Isaac Peltier of 10th Special Forces Group in Fort Carson released the following statement: "The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) wishes to express deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends who have been tragically touched by the loss of Staff Sgt. Adam Thomas. (He) epitomized what it is to be a professional Green Beret and soldier. His loss from our organization and his memory will not be forgotten."

According to his Army biography, Thomas joined the Army in April 2008. He had deployments in Iraq from December 2008 to November 2009 and in Afghanistan from May 2011 to February 2012, and he returned to Afghanistan in June 2016.

He received several awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Jake Zimmerman, supervisor for the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission, said Thomas' loss hits close to home for many area veterans and families.

"It serves as a very sober reminder that 15 years after Sept. 11, we are still fighting the war over there and it is still having an effect on our community here and affecting our sons and daughters," Zimmerman said. "It is very sobering."

Gloria Casas is a freelancer for The Courier-News; The Associated Press contributed.

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