ROAD WARRIOR—Odom honored with Triumph of the Human Spirit Award

  • Local resident Thomas Odom competed in the Race Across America this summer and raised over $80,000 to support the Kyle Pease Foundation and the local Connectability organization.
    Local resident Thomas Odom competed in the Race Across America this summer and raised over $80,000 to support the Kyle Pease Foundation and the local Connectability organization.
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For years, local athlete Thomas Odom he has been helping raise awareness for people with disabilities and helping make sports more accessible to people of all abilities.
"We all have weaknesses and strengths. Sometimes it’s just more obvious," he said.
Odom said "inclusion of people with all abilities makes everyone better. It not only helps the person with disabilities but it helps the community."
He said participation in adaptive sports can help bring freedom to someone who may feel trapped.
"It allows everyone to push beyond what they think their limits are," Odom said.
Odom recalled how he has competed in several marathons, half marathons, half Ironman triathlons, Ironman triathlons, ultra runs, and ultra cycling events to help raise awareness for disabilities.
Recently his efforts were recognized when Odom was named a 2019 Triumph of the Human Spirit Award winner.
The award, given by BlazeSports America, honors those who have made a significant impact in Georgia through adaptive sport and recreation, according to the organization.
"Odom represents the ideals and values of BlazeSports through his belief in the power of sport especially for people with disabilities, determination, perseverance and service to others, especially the Kyle Pease Foundation," said Mara Galic, Director of Operations and Evaluation.
Galic said since 2015 Odom has raised nearly $125,000 in support of those with disabilities to compete in sports.
This past summer, Odom raced his bike across the country in the Race Across America (RAAM), while raising  over $80,000 to support the Kyle Pease Foundation and the local Connectability organization.
Odom said the RAAM was by far the biggest and most difficult event he has done, but was grateful to have the support of his wife and team along the way.
"Knowing that I’ve been blessed with the health and the ability to race makes me want to use the gift," Odom said.
The Kyle Pease Foundation (KPF) is based in Atlanta and has the mission to "create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports."
Odom said the KPF has "connected me with amazing athletes with disabilities and events to participate in.  They have gone above and beyond to consistently show me what is possible."  
He said this pushes him to want to do more and to help more.
Odom has observed Kyle Pease, along with his local friend Jon Crais use their disabilities to show mental and physical strength.  He has observed "the obstacles they overcome daily" and the way they "use their obstacles to inspire others to take risk."
Regarding his efforts with the KPF, Galic commented that Odom has "assisted athletes in their sport endeavors and shares his tremendous spirit with all who are near."
Galic said Odom is a dedicated advocate for the abilities of individuals with a disability.  "His selfless acts and volunteerism will be felt for years to come."
Although BlazeSports America cannot share the names of those who submit nominations, Odom did receive two.
A total of 10 Triumph of the Human Spirit Award Winners were chosen out of 31 nominations from Atlanta and surrounding areas this year.
Having recently added a new child to the household, Odom hasn't planned any large events this year, although he said he will volunteer to help others race a lot more.
He lives in Dahlonega with his wife Mallory and two children.