North Central students raise over $1,600 for neighborhood icon

Home News North Central students raise over $1,600 for neighborhood icon
North Central students raise over $1,600 for neighborhood icon

Original GoFundMe goal shattered

North Central students pose for a selfie with Thomas at this 60th birthday party. Photo by Christiam Martinez.

There is a person who has lived on throughout the years and has played a significant role in the lives of many students. He provides countless smiles and high-fives. No matter what kind of day you’re having, he is more than excited to see you. This man is Thomas.

Thomas, whose full name is Thomas Glaeser, has been more than a familiar face to students throughout their years at North Central University; he has been a true friend and icon of this place that we call home.

This year, sophomore James Gladney decided to give back to the man who has given so much of his heart and smile to the North Central student body. On August 23, Gladney decided to start a GoFundMe for Thomas’ 60th birthday in order to buy him a new leather jacket. The goal was to raise 250 dollars.

A month later, the GoFundMe surpassed the original goal of $250 and has now reached over $1,600. Gladney and those helping with the fundraiser were so blown away by the response that they were able to re-evaluate what the money was to go toward. Along with the jacket, several North Central students organized a surprise birthday party.“Before the semester started, I encountered Thomas and it honestly just sparked in me that I wanted to do something for him,” Gladney said. “Thomas has been a great impact to this community and I just felt compelled to give back to him.”

“I won’t forget the look on Thomas’ face when he saw the people at his party,” Martinez said. “It instantly lit up with a big smile.”

Gladney plans on using the remainder of the funds to pay for Thomas’ groceries for the next few months. He also hopes to come up with another idea on top of the jacket, party and groceries to further Thomas’ blessing.

The heart behind the GoFundMe came from Gladney’s desire to give back to the community, especially to someone like Thomas who has consistently given his heart to the students of North Central. Gladney stated that the efforts put forth toward this fundraiser was not to put the spotlight on him, but rather to do something for someone that has inspired and loved so many people by giving a gift that resonated as more than a tangible birthday present, but a token of love and appreciation for one of our own.

Next time you see that leather jacket filled with the smile and genuine joy that Thomas brings to this campus everyday, be sure to give him a high-five. A high-five that means more than a simple hello, and one that sends a message of true friendship and genuine care for the community.

Contact James Gladney at if you would like to continue giving to this fundraiser.