By Stan Schwartz
VANDALIA—Most everyone in the Vandalia area knew how much of his life Tom Culwell poured into making Vandalia a better community. He also enjoyed truck and tractor pulls. After he died recently, the people here decided to hold a special truck and tractor pull in his honor.
Culwell died earlier this month at age 50. He graduated from Van-Far High School with the class of 1989, and worked for the Vandalia Special Road District. He was also a deacon of his church, Spencer Creek Baptist Church. He also enjoyed working with his John Deere 4010 tractor. There was very little mechanically he couldn’t fix.
He spent countless hours volunteering his time with the Vandalia Area Fair, which is where the tractor pull will take place Friday, Sept. 3, starting at 7 p.m.
“Tom was a lifelong resident of Vandalia,” said Frank Wallace, who is with Shelter Insurance in Vandalia. He noted that Tom had been on the fair board for upwards of 25 years. “He was also a long-time supporter of Khoury League. He was the guy who put the fields together most of the time,” he added. “He would put the track together for demolition derbies and truck and tractor pulls for the fair.” Tom was also very involved in his church. “Just so involved with his community,” Wallace said.
“He was a great guy. He did a lot of stuff behind the scenes without being told or needing thanks,” Wallace said.
Because he was a tractor puller, Wallace said, some of the guys who pulled with him came up with the idea to hold a memorial tractor pull for him.
“We’re having an amazing response from the community as far as people wanting to kick in money to help offset the cost,” he said. Any funds raised he said would go toward either a scholarship or a memorial for Tom.