Powerful words. Tom Campbell from Ohio joins us for Episode 68. Tom is a rockcrawler from wayback, but also a Chaplain for Racers for Christ. He shares his history with the Navy, Veterinarian, rockcrawling, missionary work, and the life-altering accident from just four years ago.
10:34 – my daughter says I’m spreading a disease
14:02 – we modified our three speeds to be mountain bikes
20:41 – the last 7 people to survive the pool would go on to SEAL training
24:40 – …and I got arrested
35:28 – two hundred horsepower and cutting brakes
43:25 – Veterinary college
46:11 – detecting biological and chemical weapon use
51:10 – street racing cost me my license numerous times
56:51 – Tennessee Offroad Challenge – 3 day event
1:05:10 – RCV’s were the only axles that didn’t break
1:12:33 – we were hit by a Lexus SUV going 55
1:16:29 –when you’re a Christian, being disabled is much worse than dying
1:17:48 – Racers for Christ
1:22:39 – vaccines for livestock in Mali, Africa
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
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[00:00:01.080] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.500] - Speaker 2
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[00:00:56.040] - Big Rich Klein
Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
[00:01:21.250] - Big Rich Klein
On today's conversations with Big Rich, we have Tom Campbell. Tom is one of the OG Rock crawlers at WE Rock from the East Coast.
[00:01:30.340] - Big Rich Klein
He hails out of Ohio. We'll talk about that. But we'll also talk about his military career, his career as a veterinarian and how he got started in off road and what things were like for Tom. So, Tom, thank you very much for coming on board and being on conversations and sharing your life history.
[00:01:52.870] - Tom Campbell
Well, I'm glad to be here. I appreciate you put me on.
[00:01:57.010] - Big Rich Klein
So we'll get into other things, of course, your Racers for Christ and Rockcrawlers to Christ and you know, the activities that that you have done. I know you did a lot of missionary work in Africa. So I think it's a really interesting life that you've led and that's what we want to jump into. So let's get started. And where was it that you grew up? Born and raised?
[00:02:20.680] - Tom Campbell
Huber Heights, Ohio. OK, it was it was the largest brick community in the United States. I'm not so sure. It's still not the largest brick, all brick home community in the United States.
[00:02:34.610] - Big Rich Klein
And is that in that Dayton area?
[00:02:37.310] - Tom Campbell
Yes, sir, it was a suburb of Dayton that's own city now. It was back during the heyday of ranch style homes, and they all look pretty much alike. So we had a lot of friends and everybody's houses very close to the same house. So everybody was on equal footing, which was kind of nice when a lot of. Powerplays because of who you were, what you were, I was pretty much equal.
[00:03:06.430] - Big Rich Klein
OK, and what was that early life like? Was, I would imagine in a community like that, it was probably a lot of friends, people your own age.
[00:03:18.450] - Tom Campbell
A lot of classmates started school in little I actually went to a one room schoolhouse. Wow. Until third grade, the guy who built all the homes, Huber, Charles Huber, donated every three or four blocks. He had two houses that he built without any partitions. And those were the the house, the school rooms that was used for first and second graders. So even though it was this big, modern brick community, most of us all went to first and second grade and a one room school building.
[00:03:57.400] - Tom Campbell
That was our school that we we could walk to because it was no more than two or three blocks from any person. Was it was that was a nice thing to do.
[00:04:06.370] - Big Rich Klein
And I would imagine with a community like that, if he thought about having buildings or schools like that, then I would imagine there was parks in the area as well.
[00:04:17.380] - Tom Campbell
Not not too many parts to start with. It was all agricultural areas. OK, there were there was lots of woods and a couple of big creeks and one river that went through the area. So not too many parts. He did have a larger area set aside for schools and they eventually put like baseball diamonds on them. But it took several years. He also had he had laid out this plot of land and had areas that he had reserved the land and would donate it to churches.
[00:04:54.590] - Tom Campbell
He had about six areas that was designated for church to be built. So he kind of looked at everything that was needed for a suburban lifestyle where you didn't have to go anywhere but stay in your neighborhood.
[00:05:11.390] - Big Rich Klein
That's that's kind of cool. I know that you're a few years older than I am. We are. But we're in that same 60 to 70 range. You you grew up in in an area and in a time when planned communities. Especially in more rural settings, were or just outside of large cities was really popular, they were starting to people were trying to get out of the cities and get into the more rural areas and then having to commute to the factories and stuff like that.
[00:05:50.740] - Big Rich Klein
Is that am I correct in that yet?
[00:05:53.380] - Tom Campbell
Yes. Or we had a bus line, a bus service that went into Dayton. And as kids, things have changed dramatically as an eight or nine year old kid, my mom would put me on a bus with a dime to get there on a dime to get back, and two dollars for a movie at one of the movie theaters downtown and a bag of popcorn. So very trusting when a new movie would come out, she loved me and sometimes my sister on the bus, we'd go down by ourselves, see the movie, and then come back and felt very safe and watch.
[00:06:33.190] - Tom Campbell
The bus stop was three houses down from where I live. So.
[00:06:38.610] - Big Rich Klein
I grew up in an area that it was an old community south of San Francisco. I think the house I lived in was built in the 20s or 30s or something like that. But it was it wasn't like a planned community. It just it was one that evolved. But, you know, the same thing. Even though we were really close to, you know, one of the largest cities, there were no worries as a kid about those kind of things.
[00:07:02.190] - Big Rich Klein
You know, things that are happening now. I think it's really unfortunate that today's kids have to grow up with those kind of worries.
[00:07:11.230] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, it's sad they they don't they'll never know what it's like to have freedom that you felt safe using, right?
[00:07:21.970] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, we went I mean, as a kid. Before driving age, you know, early high school or even before high school, I could ride the bus from down the street from my house into San Francisco, catch the the Muni's and ride the cars like the trolley cars or or even when they built Sam Tranz and the bus systems and, you know, going up into the into San Francisco in the 60s, being only seven, eight years old, was nine years old, was not an issue.
[00:07:56.140] - Big Rich Klein
And it's kind of strange nowadays that that that that's completely gone.
[00:08:03.340] - Tom Campbell
Yeah. I feel sorry for the younger people today. They're experiencing life in a way that I think it's kind of hard on them. It pushes them into places that maybe don't feel comfortable with and they're getting used to it. And of course, they were born into it. I wish they could have experienced what we had when I was seven or eight years old. I would I had a golf club tube taped to the top rail of my bicycle. I had a scabbard on the side.
[00:08:37.390] - Tom Campbell
I would go fishing. I would ride my put on my clothes and ride it over to one of the farmer's fields and let us on. You know, I was eight, nine, 10 years old and going fishing by myself at the big river and going rabbit and pheasant hunting by myself on a bicycle. And if you tried that today, somebody would pick you up and put you somewhere.
[00:09:02.890] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And arrest your parents, right? Yeah, it's a shame. So talk about about school, knowing that you went through vet school and I would imagine your scholastic were you athletic as well or, you know, what was your what was your thing back then?
[00:09:22.810] - Tom Campbell
Well, in high school, it was it was pretty tough for me in high school. I was a year younger than everybody else in my class. OK, and when you're 13 to 15 years old, there's a big difference in size. So I was always on the small side and trying to compete on baseball was not hard. I played baseball through E league, which I back then, it was like you want from the A-League. OK, I play baseball.
[00:09:53.260] - Tom Campbell
I was about 17 or 18, almost 18 years old. But football, which was the big thing for our school, I was always small enough that I just I got beat up a lot in practice and always sat on the bench. So I didn't stick with that. So it was I was a little athletic, but I was just a little small scholastically. I had other things on my mind. I did well till I got my driver's license.
[00:10:22.420] - Tom Campbell
Then my grades went to put, you know, hey, I understand. I think that was a lot of us had that it had just extended our range of freedom, you might say.
[00:10:34.100] - Tom Campbell
I've always been car crazy, my my daughters are a little leery about me hanging out with my grandsons because they're picking up on it and now they're wanting to get a get a car even before they got their license and and start working on it. We're trying to fix one up. So my one daughter calls it a disease that I'm spreading around the grandsons. But that's OK. They they're they're learning to do things that aren't going to hurt themselves or anybody else, so.
[00:11:09.790] - Big Rich Klein
True, and it gives them life skills, being able to, you know, figure things out if they're working on vehicles, you know, as opposed to sitting in their room and and, you know, being online or their face buried in a phone.
[00:11:26.110] - Tom Campbell
Well, my dad was always a car guy, he owned some before he retired only a couple of very large collision centers and was always going to work on our cars, but he wasn't big on teaching. So my first car was a 53 wolly three or 55. And it was like it needed it was not going, like crazy and needed a crankshaft. He goes, look, just all get all order crankshaft for you, but I don't have time to help you.
[00:11:57.910] - Tom Campbell
You have to figure out how to do it. And it was like, well, I figured it out from then on. It's like, well, I can figure out a lot of this stuff. And the more you figure out, the more you know. And it kind of. It grows sometimes exponentially, and then you end up building a building, race cars off road rock crawlers and all the things that 16, 17, 18 year old boys do and.
[00:12:29.230] - Tom Campbell
Was actually good for me.
[00:12:30.610] - Big Rich Klein
Exactly, and, you know, and we didn't have YouTube, you know, and I was know it had a Chilterns meaning he had had Chilton's manual. I mean, so I covered it wasn't per car, was like just for cars in general. And it was like you said, I still have it all hard. Copy Chilton's manual. That's why I got eight or nine hundred pages of it. You help.
[00:12:54.130] - Big Rich Klein
I started off with with this Chilterns as well, and same thing, my dad was a car guy. He built, you know, using a hot rod club and built hot rods and did drag racing in that kind of thing. So I was able to work with him in the garage and he could show me things. He would be OK. Well, this is what you're going to do next, so go for it. You know, it was more that way than just figure it out.
[00:13:20.110] - Big Rich Klein
Of course, there was other projects that I did that they didn't know about because they didn't approve of like motorcycles and stuff like that that I just had to figure out on my own. Right. You know, that's that's how us kids did things. So you grew up in a time where there wasn't the cool bicycles and some of the toys that I felt came along right after. Like when I got into high school, I started seeing all these really cool things for kids to ride that were, you know, I was too big for or too old for, you know, like the big wheels and things like that.
[00:13:56.470] - Big Rich Klein
But we did modify our bicycles a bit. Did you guys do the same thing, you know?
[00:14:02.140] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, I, I had the bike that it was three speed. It was just a three speed bicycle that turned into like an English racer. That's what I wrote. I would ride on the on the roads when I was traveling to go fishing or hunting. But we had a campsite down by the river that you couldn't ride that bike to and they didn't have the mountain bikes. But, you know, we we kind of built our mountain bikes back then, bigger balloon tires, a little skinny tires and extend the forks on the front so you'd have more ground clearance under your under your your crank on your pedals.
[00:14:42.190] - Tom Campbell
And it was like, well, that's it's kind of like what we what they turned into mountain bikes, but we were doing it, you know, stripping them down and taking everything off of it that we didn't have to have and riding those on the trails. And I wasn't the only one doing it. So there was so it was they had some really junky looking off road bicycles. Right.
[00:15:05.740] - Big Rich Klein
So from school on, what did you do? What did you do after after high school, is that when you went straight into the military or did you do something else?
[00:15:19.240] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, I really thought about going in the military. I had taken up scuba diving the last few years of high school, and I was at a class that they taught. Or did you? Was it something offered in one of the.
[00:15:34.060] - Tom Campbell
It was done through the YMCA, OK. They no longer teach scuba diving. But so I went through the YMCA and the instructor there had his own instruction, PADI, and now some of the large scuba organizations was just starting to come along. But still there were independent people that were teaching, diving and Bill Cassidy and he was the heet, actually. If you look at references, he actually did the half of the Navy dove tables for decompression. Wow.
[00:16:10.420] - Tom Campbell
So he he was he was well thought of. And everybody that saw his name on a signed off on a certificate or a completion card, they took notice and I learned to e dove from him, cave diver who was a certified cave diver. And I was certified up to two hundred feet. I'd been down just shy of two hundred feet twice. And so I thought, I want to I always thought the SEAL team, the SEAL team was really getting going back in the early 70s and Vietnam was going on.
[00:16:47.110] - Tom Campbell
And you would hear some things about the SEALs being dropped off on the river gunboats. And I thought and that would be I would like to do that. But then after my senior year, because I was a year younger, the lottery that selected who was going to get drafted that year came out. And I think it was December and they posted it in the newspaper that wasn't, you know, the Internet where you could look at the numbers within the Dayton Daily News went down.
[00:17:17.500] - Tom Campbell
Look at my my birthdate. And I was my lottery number was fifty seven. And it was like so right away up to 60 was called by Selective Service to go get physical exams and and for being drafted. So. I did join the Navy and my intent was to be a Navy SEAL, and I got drafted in June of 72 and they held back, sending me to basic training in San Diego to match up with the next Buddz school training that was going on coordinate.
[00:17:53.000] - Tom Campbell
So I went active duty on September 6th of nineteen seventy two and went to boot camp and San Diego.
[00:18:02.900] - Big Rich Klein
Great. From Ohio to San Diego. That must have been kind of a lifestyle change.
[00:18:08.790] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, I mean, that was you know, I've been on an airplane once before, and so that was, you know, was kind of. Now, everybody's used to go on an airplane back then you walk out and if you ran and they hand you an umbrella and they collected that as you got on the airplane and you were outside on the tarmac walking up the steps to get on on the airplane for your airplane. Right. That was the second time I'd ever been on a plane.
[00:18:37.340] - Tom Campbell
I always enjoy being a little scared. I guess it's the adrenaline that I'm kind of addicted to. So it was it was very exciting. And then get in San Diego and seeing what basic training was.
[00:18:51.320] - Big Rich Klein
So so we had Steve Nantz on and he went. Same thing into to San Diego. But when he was there, it was all foggy. And so for like the first two months, he didn't even know there was mountains there. What was it like that that first day that you were in San Diego?
[00:19:09.900] - Tom Campbell
Well, as we got off the bus, they told us we were now called worms, worms, yeah. So that was years. That's the lowest life on the surface of the ground. So we we were told that that's exactly what we were the lowest life on, but that was on the surface of the earth. And don't don't do anything that might want someone to step on you. So. I mean, we we were you know, you have to break you before they can build you.
[00:19:39.420] - Tom Campbell
What I think is and it was we were on Worm Island, which was a small island off the the Navy base and very small and had a bridge across it. And they posted guards every night to keep and keep the workers on the island. Yeah, they told you all stories of sharks and, you know, they're going to get you. And we could see the Marine Corps boot camp, which was just across like a finger of water, but not very much until after a bit we started realizing that we were pretty lucky because we saw the Marines doing some things they had to do was like, well, at least we're all having to do that.
[00:20:24.210] - Big Rich Klein
But so from boot camp and being a worm and obviously. Well, I guess maybe not, obviously. Were you able to get into the or try to attempt to get into the SEAL program?
[00:20:41.730] - Tom Campbell
Yes, I they they do a test and basic training one month before your release for basic training to determine if you could go to. But but school. OK, so which is basic underwater demolition school. The first thing you have to do before you go into SEAL or UDP? There were two separate groups at that time and a lot of it was pool work and they were going to take seven people and about 40 people showed up for the tryouts. They got down to the last maybe 20 and it was you had to tread water and we'd all passed everything up to then.
[00:21:27.090] - Tom Campbell
So they were going to take the last seven people in that could survive in the pool. Treading water would be the ones that would go. And we got down and we were every two hours you could get a five minute break to go door to the bathroom and get a drink of water. So we we did that. And it was actually we ended up treading water for just a little over twenty four hours. Wow. It was I don't know, it was kind of it wasn't easy, but I'd been on the water so much that it kind of just felt like a natural thing.
[00:22:05.210] - Tom Campbell
And I did get selected and did go to buds training. There were some issues, though, on the bus ride from San Diego to Coronado Island. They were talking about how it was going to be different than basic training and what what we were expected to be able to do and not be able to wear glasses was one of the requirements. So my glasses ended up slipping out the window of the bus because you didn't want to get caught wearing glasses?
[00:22:41.910] - Tom Campbell
I did want to get caught, wear glasses because I thought I was I was in good shape going. My recruiter, of course, the most overpaid liars in the world. Oh, yeah. No problem. No problem. Just go ahead and sign the dotted line here. So after a whole week is actually almost two weeks long after surviving that. I now hate the Pacific Ocean. I hate the sand that's in the Pacific Ocean. It's cold. It's get as much sand on you from just being in the water as being on the beach.
[00:23:15.540] - Tom Campbell
So when we got done with that, then the classroom work started. I was having difficulty seeing of course, it was all a lot of chalk board and slide presentations. I was having a difficult time and they noticed that and set me up for an eye exam, the first eye exam I had memorized the chart, just like you see on television. And then this. They started doing some different eye exams and they found out that I didn't qualify because my vision wasn't good enough.
[00:23:53.370] - Big Rich Klein
That must have been disappointing.
[00:23:55.500] - Tom Campbell
I was I cried. I can imagine. But the God worked everything out for me, they because I had gotten that to that point, I guaranteed I could get whatever job in the Navy that I wanted out of four hundred some specialties in the Navy. I could pick whatever I wanted and they would get me to that school. I would be that for the rest of my enlistment. Well, that's nice. I looked through and and I was originally told by personnel then that he was going to make sure I got put on a boat trip and paying off the side.
[00:24:33.230] - Tom Campbell
I would never see anything but that that's kind of why was that was why did he say that?
[00:24:40.320] - Tom Campbell
He I just I guess he was he was on over Kornel Island, but he wasn't the seal. He just he had a bad attitude, I guess, which unfortunately brought out my bad attitude. Right. And the the guarantee that they placed in mind to a one 4Low or my service record, he just ripped it out, tore it up in the trash can. Wow. At that point, I stood up, he stood up. I hit him in the face and in five minutes I was under arrest.
[00:25:13.710] - Tom Campbell
So they flew niggled around and still I was able to get the job that I picked. And I look through the through the book, The Four Hundred, some specialties and picked one called Tradesman Trade, where you worked on flight simulators and submarine simulators. And I picked that one and that was I got a flight simulator. So it was all shore duty and spent four years in Virginia Beach. Virginia was some of the most fun times I've ever had.
[00:25:48.150] - Big Rich Klein
So striking the. He was a noncom then.
[00:25:53.310] - Tom Campbell
Yes, the second class. So he was E five.
[00:25:58.700] - Big Rich Klein
So it wasn't as bad as is hitting a commissioned officer, I guess, right, or least you were able to prove your point so that it didn't hang over your head.
[00:26:08.820] - Tom Campbell
Right. So, you know, even at the even after being dismissed, being through the first part of buds, training was highly thought of. So it gave you some clout that probably the average seaman did not have, OK, which was what saved me from getting anything bad done to me. So.
[00:26:35.480] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that's that's fortunate enough, but I can understand that, you know, it's. People push and push and push, and, you know, they sometimes they push you to your limits. And when we're young, we have more of a tendency to to try to prove our point, which obviously you must have done.
[00:26:55.190] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, young and dumb and lack of self-control and. Yeah, I think most people learn that as they get older. I don't think you're born with it.
[00:27:06.390] - Big Rich Klein
No, you're not. No, you're not. Especially if you're an adrenaline junkie. You know, if you like the adrenaline, it's it's more likely to come out, I think if you're if you don't particularly like the adrenaline or, you know, that overcoming that fear or whatever, that those those same tendencies probably don't happen as often.
[00:27:31.370] - Tom Campbell
The adrenaline is supposedly the most addictive drug that you can ever have in your body.
[00:27:38.870] - Big Rich Klein
Right. Well, you know, that's what I've always said is every time somebody posts something on social media or asks what it is, tell us what you do, but do it badly or don't, you know, come right out and say it. I always tell people I sell them back their adrenaline.
[00:27:54.350] - Tom Campbell
Yes, I think you do.
[00:27:57.460] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, so you're you're stateside in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and obviously you must have liked the East Coast. The Eastern Ocean, the Atlantic, better than the Pacific.
[00:28:14.450] - Tom Campbell
Yes, sir. Yeah, that when they came up with duty stations, it was like, I do not want any Westpac or the Pacific side is like I cannot stand that body water. I visited by some of my wife's family members in Los Angeles and San Diego, and I don't even go to the beach and walk the beach.
[00:28:41.280] - Big Rich Klein
And it was all from that Buddz training that gone through.
[00:28:44.170] - Tom Campbell
But yeah, I mean, it's like you can watch the television shows and they're pretty accurate, but it's like. It is misery for you slept one hour a day, twenty three hours of misery. Wow. And the goal was what kept keeps you driving on, and that's probably all that adrenaline and all that pushing and hating the Pacific Ocean, when that guy tore my guarantee up, it was like that pushed me over the edge. So they got me addicted to adrenaline.
[00:29:24.030] - Tom Campbell
I've been addicted to a long time, I guess. But it's like that was the most that ended up being the second most adrenaline I've ever had. So it's. OK, I enjoy it, and that's that's why I'm not competing. I missed that part of being able to get a little excitement and adrenaline going. It's very hard to do sometimes to. To see it and not be able to touch it, you know, you almost touch it, right?
[00:29:56.560] - Big Rich Klein
So let's talk about Virginia Beach, the year your duty time there. You said you were on simulator's flight simulators.
[00:30:06.100] - Tom Campbell
Yes, sir, I was I was on a A6 intruder simulator and we operated and maintained it, so we had a lot of new pilots come through being assigned to a six. And in order to be part of the training for us to be skilled on the A6 simulator, we had to go fly real a six one that's got dual controls, both both sides. There's usually one the left side for the pilot and the right side was for the Bombardier Navigator.
[00:30:42.740] - Tom Campbell
So we we had to go through the same two week flight school at Virginia Beach as the new pilots on A6 six did. So that was another adrenaline thing going on. So after the first three or four days on all the paperwork, then we started actually going out to the aircraft. And so I got to do that. I got to do so. I have been very blessed. I've been able to do so many things that have been like dreams or goals of mine.
[00:31:17.990] - Tom Campbell
That I just you know, I've pretty well, I almost don't have a bucket list anymore.
[00:31:24.660] - Big Rich Klein
I tell everybody I don't believe in a bucket list. I believe in a life list. Yeah, but I'm also the same guy that thinks, you know, you're your glass is half full, you know, not half empty.
[00:31:38.660] - Tom Campbell
So I try to I try to be the optimist sometimes it's really hard.
[00:31:43.730] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, that's true. Yeah, it can be.
[00:31:47.390] - Tom Campbell
So it was it was real exciting. And then it was a real pleasure, pleasurable. I ended up being on a night shift. And we get up every morning sometimes with somebody or the other guys or and we drive over to the beach and we would surf fish all day long. And then we would come back, get cleaned up and go to work nice, it was it was like almost like being on vacation with a part time job.
[00:32:22.940] - Big Rich Klein
And job security.
[00:32:25.600] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, job security, my my first three, two months, two and a half months of paychecks in the Navy, I finally broke even. I owe them money. From my uniforms and my haircuts and all that stuff, they don't give it to you like they do the other branches, you have to pay for it and it comes out your paycheck. So it was like two, two and a half months before I was at a break even point.
[00:32:53.730] - Tom Campbell
And then my checks were one hundred and sixty nine dollars every two weeks.
[00:32:58.370] - Big Rich Klein
Nowadays, that doesn't go very far.
[00:33:01.160] - Tom Campbell
No, back in Virginia Beach, it didn't go very far either.
[00:33:04.250] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I would imagine trying to because the high cost of living. I unfortunately got in with a group at the auto shop garage or for so I don't know whether it's fortunate or unfortunate, the auto shop garage you can go over and for five dollars a month, you could run eBay with a tool, with a huge toolbox and had chainlink around them. So you could lock your your all your parts in your car so no one else could get to it.
[00:33:35.410] - Big Rich Klein
So it was. I don't I think my my grandsons know this, I don't really publicly talk to them too much about it. We had a street racing club like and so the it was always the sailors versus the civilians. We'd go out cruising the streets and back then you you bet on your race. And we we always seem to be able to make more money than we spent keeping our junk together.
[00:34:10.420] - Big Rich Klein
So let's let's talk about the evolution of vehicles that first when you you said you had a Willis flat or flat fender, but A, three, B, what what came after that and when was it?
[00:34:24.250] - Tom Campbell
Well, I bought that when I was 14. OK, and and drove it all the back, the back stuff at around our house until I was 16 and replaced the crankshaft and then sold it. The next car I had was a I built a dune buggy, fiberglass dune buggy. OK, and there was a mechanic that was selling dune buggy bodies. He was a mechanic at the Porsche dealership in downtown Dayton. So he, I got to know him and I built this fiberglass orange metal, fiberglass dune buggy.
[00:35:03.100] - Tom Campbell
And he helped me put together a about a two hundred horsepower Volkswagen Motor for. And so I stayed busy staying in trouble with that on the roads, I would imagine so after I eventually sold that and built a sand rail and and took the ends of the dune buggy and put over in the sand rail and go up to Silver Lake in Michigan, and they had sand drags. So I did that for one summer and we'd sand drag once a month.
[00:35:38.260] - Tom Campbell
They had a sand drag. We go up there and no one had the big paddles on it and two hundred horsepower and you're still cutting breaks. And back then it was just two little levers that hooked onto your emergency brake. Yeah. And what you were so light in the front you only could steer with by braking. So I got kind of. I look back and I go, well, I was using cutting breaks back in 1970.
[00:36:08.600] - Big Rich Klein
Exactly. So when you had the the fiberglass Volkswagen and then the rail, did you what was your commute vehicle?
[00:36:22.130] - Tom Campbell
I had a nineteen sixty seven four. OK, three ninety double pump, Rupali and automatic, I kind of got in trouble with that a few times too, but it was faster. It didn't stand out as much as the as the fiberglass buggy. So I didn't get as many looks by the police or the police in our town of Juber Heights knew me well. So I always left our community as fast as I could. So anything I did wouldn't be seen by them.
[00:36:58.370] - Tom Campbell
But that was and then eventually ended up I think I had one more car. I had a sixty eight. Coronate Archey with a 440 Magnum dual quads, and that by far was the fastest vehicle I've ever owned in my life, right?
[00:37:23.190] - Big Rich Klein
Yep, those late those late 60s Mopar was they were beasts.
[00:37:30.670] - Tom Campbell
They were they were bad cars, the speedometer went to 150. And it would peg the speedometer. It wasn't a on the road will grow well over 50, you needed more than a little more than one lane to keep it going straight.
[00:37:47.090] - Big Rich Klein
And it's again, that adrenaline.
[00:37:50.270] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, getting the drill and going. It's like I've always kind of had that problem.
[00:37:56.070] - Big Rich Klein
Did it have seatbelts?
[00:37:59.050] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, but we never warm, right? Know, that was that was I think they had just started making them standard equipment was just about that time a little before. 4Low, I remember my dad when he would go buy a new car, he wouldn't take the seat belts out of the plastic bags. Because they were an option and he would go and get that plastic waffle look and see covers put on it, so when you got ready to trade it in or so was the brand new deal.
[00:38:30.080] - Tom Campbell
So I did wear a seatbelt. I don't think I wore a seatbelt except for racing up in Michigan. Until I got out of the Navy, to be honest with you. It was just, you know, the problem, putting my seatbelt on, you know, I don't have any issues put the seatbelt on anymore.
[00:38:53.240] - Big Rich Klein
No, not well. We'll get to that here. Get to that. So then you you had the Ford or the Dodge Ford and then you had the Dodge. But you truly are at heart. A Ford guy is what I, I always thought. Yeah.
[00:39:09.560] - Tom Campbell
And so we have the Ford guy.
[00:39:12.350] - Big Rich Klein
OK, that makes sense. When you were in Virginia Beach, what vehicle were you driving then.
[00:39:21.910] - Tom Campbell
I had a Pinto runabout.
[00:39:23.860] - Big Rich Klein
There you go, that's a ladykiller right there.
[00:39:27.610] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, it's the lady killer wild Pinto runabout. Really? That's awesome.
[00:39:36.640] - Tom Campbell
I bought it was I actually bought to at the local wrecking yard and I want to sit in the back row and sit in the front. And that was back when it wasn't too legally hard to cut one in half to put it back together again without jumping through a million. So there's actually two cars. And I drove that. We got married and we still drove it. So that was sticking with a Ford that wasn't fast at all, but it was more than a.
[00:40:12.820] - Tom Campbell
Some of the other big sedans that we run around, right, so you just mentioned married, where did you meet your wife?
[00:40:22.450] - Tom Campbell
I met her at a church youth group. Party one night. And I thought she was her sister. So I thought she was about my age and started talking and and still thought she was my age and so we started dating and I found out she was two years younger than me. I actually almost three years are in the army, but so I fell in love with her. And then we we dated until I got drafted. And then halfway through my four year enlistment, she turned 18 and we got married.
[00:41:04.500] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so she she followed you through your military career then?
[00:41:09.390] - Tom Campbell
Yup, she's followed me through all my military career. She she enjoyed the Virginia Beach lifestyle, too, because after I was married, then I wouldn't go with anybody else. We would go to the beach and I'd fish and she would lay on the way on and tell on the beach and soak up some sun. And it really, truly was. We had almost two years of like a honeymoon. It was very nice.
[00:41:32.130] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So then what happened after Virginia Beach?
[00:41:36.720] - Tom Campbell
Well, I ended up going back home and working on my dad's auto collision, so. And didn't enjoy it at all, no problems with my brother and my dad just, you know, family issues a tension from that, it was very unenjoyable. OK, so I decided I would go back to college. And back when I was a 10 year old, I was mowing grass for the veterinarian that we only had one veterinarian. And you're right. And I was at 10 years of age, I started mowing his grass somehow and progressed on along and through high school.
[00:42:18.210] - Tom Campbell
I would work there part time after school, got where I was doing quite a few things that I really enjoyed that. So then things didn't work out at my dad's shop. I decided I'd go back to college and try to be a veterinarian.
[00:42:34.360] - Big Rich Klein
OK, I always wondered how that how that transitioned.
[00:42:40.160] - Tom Campbell
That's how some people say it doesn't really fit my personality sometimes, but ultimately it did. I enjoy my I enjoy my profession. And I carried it on through my military career, I've been in the military for 27 years before I retired. Ninety six.
[00:43:00.060] - Big Rich Klein
So right. So talk about that. You you were you did four years in the Navy, then you went to school, you came home, you went to, you know, worked with your dad and and your brother and then decide to go to veterinary school and then after that. Is that when you went back into the military or did you start your career, your vet career then?
[00:43:25.360] - Tom Campbell
I stayed in the military inactive reserve status, OK, for about a year and a half. And I got accepted to Vetinari College, I got accepted after two years, which I don't think you can do that anymore, but worked really hard the first two, the first six quarters and got every one of the prerequisites done in order to apply for better school. So I applied and I got in. But we as soon as I knew I was being accepted better at school, I went back in the Army National Guard part time active duty and stayed in there until I graduated under extraordinary school.
[00:44:10.530] - Tom Campbell
So I was an enlisted person while I was a tank turret repairman. That's a slayer. And yeah, so so it didn't seem like it was going to be much fun. But if you've ever if you know anything about military armor and eighty eight is a tank recovery vehicle. Right. It's got the most powerful winch that is mobile that at that time that the Army owned I think it was eighty thousand pound winch. And this thing has a big greater blade on the front that you bury where you pull, you pull up and drop it down the ground.
[00:44:53.580] - Tom Campbell
And then as you put tension on the cable, it actually starts digging deeper and deeper into the ground. So you can actually drag these tanks that are damaged or stuck and get them back to where they can be trailered, back to repair facility. So I got a license to drive that is like every time we go on a summer camp, two weeks summer camp, I was driving them eighty eight. It was like that was like not the ultimate off road, but we got to see a lot of fun, fun, interesting things recovering some of these other pieces of armor.
[00:45:31.930] - Big Rich Klein
How big were the cables on a winch that, oh, my gosh, I think they were inch and a half cables. Wow.
[00:45:39.340] - Big Rich Klein
Did you ever round one when it snapped?
[00:45:42.580] - Tom Campbell
No, it never snapped it. I mean, it went with it extended. It's all you can do to pick it up in the middle and and move it any direction. Even just is just picking it up is almost more than one person can do so heavy.
[00:46:01.720] - Big Rich Klein
So then did you stay in the Reserves the rest of your career? Did you go back to. Did you go back to full time service?
[00:46:11.350] - Tom Campbell
I stayed the National Guard until I graduated, then was commissioned into the Army Reserve and then spent the last of my career till nine six and Army Reserve. We I was also a microbiologist by then, so as a veterinary microbiologist, which there was a group of three veterinary laboratories that would would detect biological and chemical weapon use in the masticated animals and wildlife. There was only three in the world and I was the commander of one of them. Which is it's only a captain's position, so it's not as prestigious as you think, but since there were so few of us, any time there was a conflict anywhere, I would be put on alert standby because it was going to be thirty three percent chance that my unit would be called up to go support the mission.
[00:47:16.910] - Tom Campbell
So. It seems like at least once every two years we were headed for the emergency operations center getting data, and every day I'd have to drive to Columbus to pick up the latest information. So it was I kind of had a drill and going about every six to 12 months, some some kind of a drill and going on going on missions. So it was so it was exciting, even though it was a reserve position. Right.
[00:47:51.370] - Big Rich Klein
Because it's a specialty, if are only three units that were dealing with that and that was going in and detecting if the the other side, the combatants were were using biological, you know, weapons against our troops, right?
[00:48:09.220] - Tom Campbell
Yes, sir. OK, you know, when Syria. Used chemicals on their their civilians that first time years ago, it was actually one of our three labs that went in and detected it in the animals, in the villages. They could we could we had the ability to detect it easier than detected in humans because particularly Muslims, once they're dead, they've only got a certain amount of time to clean them and wash them and dress them for burial. So it made it almost impossible for us to detect it in the people.
[00:48:50.330] - Tom Campbell
So they used the livestock and the dead birds, anything they would find in the village to come up with what exact chemical was used. So. Hmm. And we did get my unit got called up for Desert Storm. It was exciting time to.
[00:49:08.290] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that was that was kind of a crazy time.
[00:49:12.680] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, it was it was our army and our politicians have changed since then because I personally, I can tell you we we were we were not being lied to. We were they were wanting to get the mission completed and didn't have any political agendas that prevented the military from. In the mission, which kind of look at the Desert Storm as the shortest, largest battle or war that the United States has ever fought. And we did it went fast and quick and clean and now the same kind of missions go on for four to 10 years, it's like.
[00:49:58.020] - Tom Campbell
I don't understand it myself, to be honest with you.
[00:50:02.130] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I'm. I'm not going to broach that subject because I probably shouldn't, but I agree with me, too, so I can't I get on my soapbox and can't get off.
[00:50:16.660] - Big Rich Klein
So then you were working as a vet there in in in Huber Heights still or outside?
[00:50:25.390] - Tom Campbell
I'd moved to on I graduate. I moved to a town called Springfield. OK, that's where I still have my practice today.
[00:50:32.380] - Big Rich Klein
And you're in your office right now, right?
[00:50:35.140] - Tom Campbell
No, I'm home for lunch right now.
[00:50:36.910] - Big Rich Klein
You're home for lunch right now, OK?
[00:50:38.890] - Tom Campbell
I always take longer lunch as I've gotten older. A little more beat up. I try take it two or three or so. I can really, you know, kick back and take it easy for a longer time.
[00:50:51.400] - Big Rich Klein
Perfect. So then. When it went through this all this, you know, with the the active reserve and and the being a veterinarian, did you get back into motorsports?
[00:51:10.180] - Tom Campbell
Well, in Virginia Beach, my wife was dead set against me doing street racing anymore, which I lost my driver's license so many times, it's ridiculous. So we started camping with another couple in the military and one of the trails that we camped off was over in Virginia. And at the end of the road, before you get to the gravel road up and then it just stops and the trail starts. At the end of that road was this old little house with about twenty five jeeps parked around it.
[00:51:46.110] - Tom Campbell
And back in, I was probably in sixth grade when Walker Evans was really hot on the trail, I rang him. He and Dodge were like hooked, hooked hip to hip. And and he was doing great off road. And I always get one of the Off-Road magazines every month and there'd be something there about desert racing. And Walker Evans and I idolized Walker Evans back then, drew pictures of his Dodge pickup truck. And so I always liked four wheel drive and operate.
[00:52:21.180] - Tom Campbell
And we we. As this guy's house and on the way home, we stop and I go, got you for facilities are all for sale and looked and there was a little blue flat fender, forty six with a homemade aluminum hardtop on it. And I worked a deal with him for four hundred bucks to buy it. Now of course a forty six willis' back in nineteen seventy four was not nearly as old as people think of the old CGS now.
[00:52:52.200] - Tom Campbell
Right. But so I got it and got it home and I still had my five dollar a month. Slot over at the Hobby Shop Garage. I took it over there and bought an engine out of a Buick special, a little V six to twenty five and used to know that conversion, put it to twenty five in it in my first race. And it was in Greensboro, North Carolina. Out on the power, a power line trills and sword obstacle course racing and it was about seventy five and seventy five and most of seventy six and so on me.
[00:53:33.620] - Tom Campbell
OK, I'm hooked you know I'm stuck. I can't get out of this. I love doing it.
[00:53:38.790] - Big Rich Klein
So. And your wife was OK with you being. She was OK with that because I wasn't breaking the law. Right. I wasn't going to go to jail on her, you know, so. So we went out and had a race every month. So we raced every month from April through September and had a great time.
[00:53:56.810] - Big Rich Klein
And then from there, you I know you've been you've been racing and WE Rock crawling, did you ever get to meet Walker Evans?
[00:54:05.900] - Tom Campbell
Yes, at Hannibal when they had all the pros from the West Coast.
[00:54:10.250] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, we did. Our nationals are our nationals there. Yep. Yep.
[00:54:15.560] - Tom Campbell
I got to meet Walker there, you know, and I'm not you know, I kind of wish I got an autograph from him, but it's like I didn't want to get any busy. He was doing stuff. I was little kind of a little bit in all, to be honest with you. Right. It was like, I don't have Walker Evans autograph and maybe if I ever see him again, I'm going to ask him for just this.
[00:54:40.460] - Big Rich Klein
But I'm fortunate I get to see him every year at the offroad Hall of Fame dinner. And, you know, he's part of the Road Hall of Fame, of course, as an inductee. And that's just before CEMA. They have the induction dinners and the big ceremony and everything. And he's he and Phyllis are always there. And it's really it's really good to see him every year. You know, it's I'll see what I can do for you this year.
[00:55:11.810] - Tom Campbell
OK, I'll I'll see what I can do so. That's cool.
[00:55:17.990] - Tom Campbell
This was very sad when he quit making air shocks, right? I love I love Walker Evans, their socks. I don't know why, but probably because just the relationship I had with them through the magazines back when I was in sixth grade. So whether I like to zero socks, I'm sad that I can't purchase.
[00:55:43.130] - Big Rich Klein
So after you were racing down there in North Carolina doing the power line, racing in the Jeep. With an old odd fire of six Buick, I love those motors, UI is at the flat fender, you still have no idea.
[00:55:59.690] - Tom Campbell
I ended up selling it when I was going through college. I ended up selling it by one of the biggest mistakes I ever made because it had I put a Saturn Overdrive on it. Oh, wow. It was really nice. And I sold Jeep to to to just drive on the street because it would it would do sixty five miles an hour, unlike most of them. And so you could at fifty five was the speed limit I think. But we but we ended up selling that just to make ends meet.
[00:56:29.610] - Big Rich Klein
[00:56:31.300] - Tom Campbell
Are we partway through my my college before I got into of college? We had our first child, so that put extra strain on it. So kind of I had to quit doing some things and sell some things. So I kind of like my racing hiatus started.
[00:56:51.030] - Big Rich Klein
And how long did that racing hiatus last till two thousand and one or two. Two thousand Tennesse off road. Back then there wasn't that many off road builders and companies around. Right. Not like today. It seems like things have changed so much in Four-Wheel Drive, in off roading since then. I mean, back then, no one had a which you had to come along. He had the bolt on the wheel rope rollers that you would sometimes use, but it was like, so I saw you off road was having the Tennessee Off-Road Challenge.
[00:57:34.920] - Big Rich Klein
That was a three day event Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It was you and your KOH driver, navigator. You could have no outside help. You had to bring everything that you were going to use for those three days prior to the event site, which was a chain link storage area that they had borrowed or rented. So you were absolutely secluded from all other help other than the other competitors, OK. And that was so we did that for the three days we we had maps with grid coordinates and finding locations and there weren't any digital cameras.
[00:58:16.470] - Big Rich Klein
So we were using those Polaroid cameras that took a picture of you and automatically developed it. And that's what you stapled to the page of where you were at mimicking the pictures they had there. So it was very hard and it was off road rally, part of it, a road rally, part of it. And there was a mud pit and there was a a two pole bridge exercise. We had to get across this ravine. They are this ditch they had cut and there was no way you could drive down in and back out again.
[00:58:50.160] - Big Rich Klein
That was probably eight feet deep and straight sidewalls. So they you had to drive over the telephone poles. They had a kayak portion of it and a shooting portion of it. OK, so three days and it was like you were busy. I mean, you worked hard for three days, but that was probably the most just fun, not necessary adrenaline, but fun that I've had off roading. That was I would I would do that again if I could.
[00:59:19.440] - Big Rich Klein
We did that two years in a row. And if anybody's ever done it or heard about it, just to complete the three days and still be up and running for the last part of the event, that was kind of something back then. Half of everybody would be done after the first twenty four hours and then half of that half. So probably less than half would would be able to complete the event. So we complete the event both both years and then they then they stop having it for some reason.
[00:59:53.880] - Big Rich Klein
What did you compete in. What did you have.
[00:59:56.160] - Tom Campbell
I still have it. It's an eighty four Bronco to with a four leader, eight point eight rear thirty five teeb front. It's that's tubed in the back. It runs thirty sixes with blocks advance adapters world class tee five. That's the low first gear. Right. And I had Atlas on it. So we we competed with that and it really did best, but everything I wanted to do, a lot of people make fun of the teebs, but I still I still have two of them.
[01:00:35.710] - Tom Campbell
I have that. And the Ranger that I competed in the Bad and Badlands in Indiana had a race for two years I competed to over there. But so that was that was my first game back in the competition.
[01:00:51.940] - Big Rich Klein
And who was your who was your partner in those?
[01:00:55.280] - Tom Campbell
I had two different ones. One was my oldest daughter's boyfriend. Another was a person from from our club, had a four wheel drive club. Those numbers for cords only with PTB, OK. I guess losers like to stick together. We and somewhere in the middle there, I guess just before we put the allicin, we took it and competed at a bit, then Campfield, Ohio, and had a RockHall event. And I'm trying to think of the guy's name who put it on his last name because the H had done a lot of off road events.
[01:01:38.980] - Tom Campbell
Bob Hazal, Bob Heysel, lobbyist, put on the rock event, and it was like the first time I'd ever been on and they had pretty good sized rocks, was being brought with dump trucks. But so I'm before the Alice and I've got the standard transmission in it. And we get through the first heat, the second and the third heat, the clones all got placed. So they are pretty tough. And I got hung up halfway through and my clutch caught on fire.
[01:02:13.420] - Tom Campbell
Oh, wow. I've never seen one catch on fire before, but it was like flames shooting up the venton. When we got to take it apart, there was nothing but metal. All the asbestos was gone. So long story short, we still qualified. We were like fourth place because of the distance. We went for the the finals the next day and we couldn't do it because we couldn't we couldn't get a clutch that night to put in.
[01:02:45.100] - Tom Campbell
It was a special clutch, so I couldn't get the clutch and that finished us there. And then the next time they had the Indianapolis four wheel drive jamboree, they had a rock throwing event that was in two thousand and one or two thousand two, I can't recall. But so it was it was being filmed and we were on television. Our segment was on television for two years. After we did it, we took first place in a TV old it was a Ford Explorer parts and we took first place in the Rock Hall at that at that event.
[01:03:29.050] - Tom Campbell
And that was what that that sense did for me. I was stuck on rock crawling.
[01:03:36.130] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I remember you running a portal rig.
[01:03:41.020] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, we we ran that rig for quite a while and decided to we'd been seeing some portals using Hummer autres. And so we hooked up with the guy who was making the seas and we we bought the seas and we converted that buggy, which was a two seat buggy over to portal's. And we ran it for a couple of years.
[01:04:11.690] - Big Rich Klein
Did you have problems breaking those Paule axles? Because I know a couple of guys on the West Coast were running him to run. Schnieder had a buggy that he had built with portal's. And it seemed like every time he'd stuff it in Iraq or an undercut before he could get it out of there, it would blow up. Did you have those problems?
[01:04:30.470] - Tom Campbell
Are portal's all stayed together? We had a huge problem with access. Everybody that at that time who advertised they'd make special unbreakable axles, I contacted them, gave them all the dimensions, and I bet you I have at least eight different manufacturers of broken axles in my shop today. I didn't label whose was whose. I wish I would have known this for posterity sake, but we we suffered with that and we could change. I always took two of each axle.
[01:05:10.560] - Tom Campbell
The repairs were identical in the fronts were of course different. But I took two of two back axles and two each of the front axles with me each event because I was going to break at least one. Wow. And my son in law was my spotter at the time. And from the time that we hit our trailer till the time we were headed back to course was less than 12 minutes for Iraq's long. We'd gotten so good at replacing the change in these axles.
[01:05:38.520] - Tom Campbell
It was like he knew what tools he need to use the word I knew and like we would get on both working at the same time and one axle out, another axle and back on course it was.
[01:05:50.010] - Big Rich Klein
I don't I'm not sure if that is if that's a good thing or a bad thing that you got it down to that quick. I know that if it broke, that's a good thing to be able to do it in 12 minutes. But if you had that much experience to get it down to 12 minutes, that probably was a bad thing.
[01:06:08.820] - Tom Campbell
Oh, I. I've got at least 30 axles in my shop. While some of them were broken at a bit, some were broken trail riding or practicing. So we eventually a plug for our CB performance. I talked to him and he says, I can make an actual they won't break. And I said, OK, send me send me to send me a total of three rivers and to each of the fronts, he goes, I don't need to.
[01:06:43.740] - Tom Campbell
And I argued with you, Michael. Yeah, you do. I break them all the time. He goes, you won't break these. Well, that to buggy I sold about six years ago after four years of competition, still had the same axles in the buggy that I had have. Now I kind of lose track of time. How many years? Major rock, the single seat, front engine, big tall thing. Right? I know I had three or four years on it and then my last buggier computer and engine problems.
[01:07:18.670] - Tom Campbell
I've got a lot of starts but no finishes. But I just took the axles out for a little over four years ago. Look at them. And they were still in good shape. Twister So there CB performance. Did they? They said they could do it and they did it. And so that's that's what the axles that we still have in our buggy now.
[01:07:45.630] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. As you came up in the in Bugis and you went, you know, from the two seater to the single seat, that and I remember those engine management problems you were having. And then once we found out what once you found out what it was, it was it seemed so simple, but it wasn't at the time. You've you're not able to compete now. And I find that a real shame and wish that you could.
[01:08:17.020] - Tom Campbell
Well, you know, and as I get older, you always think you can do more things than you can really do, right? But also the last 12 months, I've improved so much that I'm really I'm really struggling with. I think I'm going to come back in some fashion or another by next spring. OK, that's that's my goal.
[01:08:45.610] - Big Rich Klein
Does your wife know this?
[01:08:48.250] - Tom Campbell
Yes. And she keeps saying no, I'm not saying yes. I go it's just walking around on the courses. You're more apt to get really hurt than in the buggy. I mean, the bike is a great this I've done some big hits with this buggy and I feel very comfortable and safe in the worst I've ever been hurt. I broke a finger at the Nationals last time I competed, OK, we rolled over and somehow I got my finger twisted behind the steering wheel and broke a finger like this.
[01:09:22.540] - Tom Campbell
So it's like, well, that's I can tolerate a broken finger and you got to tell her, hey, it's legal.
[01:09:30.640] - Tom Campbell
Yes, I know. I could get arrested. Yeah.
[01:09:34.690] - Big Rich Klein
And she's probably still going to argue with you though.
[01:09:37.670] - Tom Campbell
Yeah. But I think I she's kind of saying I'm of course, you know, I've lost a tremendous amount of weight since January 1st and I'm feeling really I feel great. So she sees that I feel really well and doing so many more things that I used to be able to do over the last four years or so. It's been kind of. Hit or miss what it could do and what I couldn't do, but I'm really able to do a lot of things.
[01:10:08.730] - Tom Campbell
So my goal is to next spring to be back in it in one fashion or another.
[01:10:14.490] - Big Rich Klein
OK, that's awesome. Let's let's shoot for something like Sportsman C or Mod Stock or something like that.
[01:10:23.430] - Tom Campbell
Yeah. That's what we're fighting with, what we're going to do. My grandson wants to be part of it and I just told him classes. I know I can probably drive the vehicles, but I cannot spot I'll end up falling off a rock and being careful at home. So I don't want to do that. All right. We're we're fighting with we got this forty six Willey's that we're we've got other willies. And we started preparing it for mod stock.
[01:10:51.480] - Tom Campbell
And we're about halfway there. And I really now we're trying to decide whether sportsman is the way to go or much stock and suspension. So this past weekend at your event, I watched quite a bit of the sportsmen season to see what what they had and what kind of what their obstacles actually look like. And, you know, standing on the ground, it always looks easier than when you're on the on the rocks.
[01:11:23.070] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's true.
[01:11:25.330] - Tom Campbell
And although it was that's a pretty good place for a C class buggy, it's or Jeep, it's kind of it's challenging. Yeah. I look at that and thought, well, you know, but not death defying. Right. And so and like those people that don't don't do it yet, they think like I do is build this vehicle and go complete the maintenance on on the more the higher class vehicles I have found to be, it's pretty time consuming.
[01:12:00.710] - Tom Campbell
I take more so than the C class or mod stock. So I agree. I think I could physically and time wise do that easier than being back in a limited, although I sure like the unlimited lines and compete with the other and limited guys. But we'll, we'll see what I can do.
[01:12:20.860] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Excellent. And do you mind touching a little bit on, on why, you know, you haven't been able to do on and talk about the wreck.
[01:12:33.880] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, I don't mind. All right. February 15th of twenty seventeen. We were going through a green light at a stoplight and a full sized Lexus SUV hits us on the side. Fifty five, a little over fifty five miles an hour. It hit my side. I was the passenger and spun us and then we hit a house. So my wife was careful. She had a broken leg and some brain bleeds. I was conscious through the whole thing.
[01:13:13.570] - Tom Campbell
I, uh, I was able to talk to them from the beginning. I was on my side of the car was over 12 inches narrower than it was to start with. I was stuck between the door and the center console. We I every time I would try to move, I would hear a lot of bone cracking as a veterinarian, I knew I was I was pretty hurt, shortness of breath and just a little shaky. My legs were more bent sideways between the cow and the the center of the car.
[01:13:58.070] - Tom Campbell
So I. I was cut out of the car. It took them twenty five minutes to cut the side of the car out of. I've got pictures of people that EMTs and they look at go, you're lucky you're here and I am lucky you got God kept me alive for a reason. I ended up being helicoptered to a level one trauma center. I have titanium plates on the ribs on my right side. I had two broken legs. I had a damaged bladder.
[01:14:36.530] - Tom Campbell
My right arm was semi paralyzed for eight days. I was confined to a wheelchair for eight months and then to a walker, we I was out of work for 10 months. We. Rehab, and it's it's when I first got to rehab as a veterinarian, I'm also a surgeon, I do bone surgeries. And during part of the time Your Shoes episode at rehab, I couldn't figure out how to tie a knot. It was like I could do the first throw of an overhand not and then to finish them off, I could I could not mentally come up with a way to finish the night off.
[01:15:26.480] - Tom Campbell
And of all the injuries that I've had with associate with that, that was probably the scariest point is when I I realized I couldn't figure out how to tie a knot and I thought was kind of like, I think my career might be over. But with lots of rehab and special games that they designed for me to play and lots of help from family, I had people stay with me 24/7 in the hospital. I was revived twice and had chest tubes placed in twice.
[01:16:05.400] - Tom Campbell
And so at this point, I can tell you I feel better than just before the accident.
[01:16:11.010] - Big Rich Klein
Wow, that's that is good to hear. That, you know, you've you've made that recovery and then with your weight loss and your your physical activities, that you're that you feel in better shape than what you did. That's that's good to hear.
[01:16:29.110] - Tom Campbell
Yeah. I'm so thankful. And I pray every day thanking God that he let me get to this point. You know, living and dying for a Christian living, dying doesn't mean as much as other things. Being permanently disabled is much worse than dying. And so God's allowed me to get back to where I can do things. I don't climb trees anymore to take the tops out of them. I don't get on the roof to clean the gutters out anymore, but I'm pretty much doing almost everything else that I used to do.
[01:17:06.760] - Tom Campbell
And we feel pretty comfortable doing good, so let's talk about the Racers for Christ program.
[01:17:14.230] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, so back when we were competing at Jellico, Tennessee. It was like every other month and we would I would go my son will go with me. So neither one of us went to church that Sunday because we were there. I heard about Racer's for Christ and I thought, wouldn't it be great if we could get them to send the chaplain to have a Sunday service for us every Sunday or that week during the day, for every Sunday of the event so that people who go to church wouldn't have to Mr.
[01:17:48.550] - Tom Campbell
Table just do it like the cowboy church do the rodeos where you go and you got church right there. And I thought, well, that'd be great. Let's I'm going to contact them. So I contacted them and they said, we'll get our regional chaplain get back with you. Well, he wants to set up an appointment at my house with me. So I set it up. I was going to talk about the schedule and what could be what time they could send.
[01:18:10.920] - Tom Campbell
I were being drafted. Yeah. And also he gets out to the wall. We got the perfect guy for the job after we talked. He. Well, who is that? He goes, you would you consider being a chaplain for the RNC? I said, I don't know. I sure wasn't prepared to hear that. I thought we were setting up a schedule for you guys to send somebody. We said, well, we're we're trying to we'd like to send you if you'd be willing to go through all the questionnaires and and be interviewed by some of the chaplains.
[01:18:43.080] - Tom Campbell
And so I said, well, give me a month or talk to my wife. I want to pray about this and see what what God has planned out for me. And he said. Well, you know, this may get to the point where you couldn't compete anymore. And I said, well, if God put in a situation where my duties as a RNC chaplain will prevent me from being a competitor, I would be more willing to sacrifice and not do that.
[01:19:13.400] - Tom Campbell
We also like, I guess everyone kind of like me, so they allowed me to sign on as a chaplain and go through all the study guides, and so I ended up being a chaplain for RC. And even up until the very end, I was still able to be a chaplain and compete. And I still think God wants me to be there as a chaplain. Now, maybe a competitor, too, but chaplain number one competitor, I love everybody that's associated with our rock crawling group even once.
[01:19:50.820] - Tom Campbell
I don't know. It's just I know how we're we're kindred spirits, so I want to be there for them and be able to administer a service if they need something. I want to be there ready for them. So that's been that has been a blessing through the whole thing to to to know that I've got people that I love and I think they love me back and that we I'm one God to watch out for them. And I'm pretty sure they will God watch out for me.
[01:20:25.860] - Tom Campbell
So I'm I'm still enjoying being a chaplain. And any time so I've had to miss it's been an empty time for me. I've missed that. So I get back as often as I can barring major mechanical difficulties.
[01:20:44.510] - Big Rich Klein
And we had some difficulties earlier this year, didn't we?
[01:20:47.580] - Tom Campbell
Yeah. So it so I'm still chaplain. I'm I'm make it every day until I can make. And of course if I was a retired person I probably just. Get in my motor home and just be everywhere that it's going on, just to just to be there and just for the encases and so that we can at least pray with everybody once each day during our invocation. I just really enjoy that feel like that's where I'm really supposed to be.
[01:21:21.340] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So let's talk about your your missions to Africa.
[01:21:28.090] - Tom Campbell
Yeah, during my military career, I've been to some Third World countries and working as a Army veterinarian, and so I've been a lot of places in my daughter and son in law, he decided to become a missionary to Africa, to a women's and children's hospital they had set up in Catala, Molly, Molly, Africa. That's the same country where Timbuktu is. I didn't know that. So they decided to go there looking at the map of Timbuktu in Mali, Africa.
[01:22:02.240] - Tom Campbell
So it's kind of your thought was a made up place, but it's not. So we they they left and as soon as they got there, she got pregnant. It was going to be their fourth child and she had her baby in the last of March of that year. And we flew in the first of April. To see the new baby just two weeks old, and this is this is the sixth poorest country in the world, they don't have much.
[01:22:39.370] - Tom Campbell
So I was really looking forward to it and had talked to some people who through the Christian missionary venture about what there was a group that would go there once a year to do some vaccinations for the livestock. So I up with them. I found out what they had. And how they did it, so I got hold of the drug company that donated ninety thousand doses. Wow. It was dosis that was set to expire within a year, so it was worth something to them, but so I had eight of the largest duffel bags, civilian duffel bags you can buy packed with all this was actually injectable warmers.
[01:23:31.340] - Tom Campbell
And so we took those. And each bag was one hundred dollars for the airplane and the church, we we we go to we had eight people come up and give us one hundred dollars to cover the price of the bags to get in. Wow. So we went with the idea of vaccinating some cowls. Well, when we get there, we find that some of the doctors are interested in going out in the hospital there and going up into one of the villages, one of the three different villages.
[01:24:12.220] - Tom Campbell
And couple the nurses so caravanned out with all this vaccine or weren't deforming Dr. Dormers and. It had been publicized that we were going to be at this one corral, which is a big concrete corral in the woods over there because of termites. And we look out over if this is sub-Saharan and you look out over the horizon and it's desert and scrub and you could see it look like movement or you couldn't tell it was anything there. But we saw that.
[01:24:46.730] - Tom Campbell
And by the hundreds, these Shepherd boys were bringing in goats and sheep, a few donkeys and cows. They're a mixed breed cow with huge horns, almost like a Longhorn, but not quite as long. And with the first day, we ultimately came to how we did each day. But we in three days, we did over thirty thousand injections. Wow. I had brought these looks like a pistol, but you loaded up with with your drug and use the same needle from animal animal and you inject pull the trigger and pull the trigger.
[01:25:33.890] - Tom Campbell
And we had five guns and the corrals and the shepherd boys were the shepherds were removing them from the corral into the sheep. Have a really long shoot that held about six. So there was like two or three on one side or two or three on the other side doing injections. And as they came down, we had one to one of my grandsons who was there had a bit of like a crayon, and we would mark each one that got a shot so they we wouldn't double shoot them.
[01:26:06.530] - Tom Campbell
And when it was all said and done, we've done almost thirty two thousand injections. One of the chiefs, the chiefs own the village, they own all the land that people come into that village and put their houses on. And we had one chief at one village and one sheep, another village give land to the Baptist church that has a like a seminary there, the Bible College. And so we had to and they got lots of pastors that's been through the Bible College, but no place for them to go.
[01:26:46.730] - Tom Campbell
So during that three days, I went out in the villages, we were able to get to church locations given to us by the Chiefs. Wow. So that was that was that that amazed me, it's like, wow, they're Muslim, I don't speak Bambara, I don't speak French. That's the two languages they use. They're I using interpreters. We saw kids who had never seen a white person before. Ever. Some up and some were afraid and would cry and run away.
[01:27:23.980] - Tom Campbell
Some would touch my skin and rub it. It was and all these these shepherds coming in off this way, I mean, it's a wasteland. These skinny cows, sheep and goats are just bags of bones. Walk around, scrub. These are the ones with the cows were no more than 12 years old and the one with the sheep was the sheep and goats were no more than eight years old. So you hear about shepherds and you read the Bible about the shepherds came.
[01:27:55.880] - Tom Campbell
The the odds are the shepherds are Tombo. We're little boys. I mean, they're coming in. They don't have water with them. They got to stick to drive their livestock around. They're barefoot. They do not let their legs or their upper body show at all. They always wear a shirt and always wear long pants. Barefoot, long pants and a shirt on coming out of the wasteland with nothing except a stick. It was just amazing to see what the people how much the people put in to alive their.
[01:28:38.330] - Tom Campbell
It was just it's just amazing.
[01:28:42.280] - Big Rich Klein
[01:28:44.560] - Tom Campbell
It must be black boxes. What did you see, any drafts and elephants? I go, no, ma'am, they they ate those, right? Years ago. There was nothing there. It's like. It was it was very I was very glad to get to go to see how they lived. And how they get by. It's amazing how they get by, all right.
[01:29:10.270] - Big Rich Klein
Well. Is there anything that you haven't touched on or we haven't discussed that you would like to talk about?
[01:29:20.000] - Tom Campbell
You know, I don't I don't know, I don't think so. OK.
[01:29:24.830] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I would like to say thank you, Tom, for coming on board and sharing your fascinating, absolutely fascinating life with us and your, you know, how you got involved in motorsports and your military career and your your work with the you know, with the mission and everything. And I really appreciate you sharing your life with us.
[01:29:49.670] - Tom Campbell
Well, I've enjoyed talking about it, it's that sometimes when you just look at your life, everybody's got an interesting life. If you can verbalize it, everybody's got something that they did that no one else has done. And so I like hearing people's stories to.
[01:30:08.700] - Big Rich Klein
That's the one thing that. You know, I think that I know most everybody that we have that I've interviewed, I, I know him in some capacity. Nobody's been a stranger. And after the interviews, I know everybody so much more personally. And I hope everybody that listens to the conversations with Big Rich pulls something out from each one of the conversations to help them in their life or with their future. And I think that, you know, with the things that we've talked about, I hope there's some possibilities there for people to to find some direction.
[01:30:49.590] - Tom Campbell
Well, I hope so, too, and my my phone number is no secret to anybody that goes on and looks at RC dog by my email address and my phone numbers there. And if anybody's listened to this and they want to ask a question about something, if they need to know something or if they got something that's bothering them, that I might be able to. Helped them through I'm ready, willing and able any time for anybody to give me a call and I would appreciate being able to assist anybody.
[01:31:28.500] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome to hear. Thank you, Tom, for that. And thank you for spending the afternoon with me on your lunch hour here and and discussing your life. Really appreciate it.
[01:31:41.880] - Tom Campbell
Well, you're welcome. And I enjoyed talking to you, Rich. Always enjoy talking to you. Yeah.
[01:31:46.660] - Big Rich Klein
Been been good friends for a while and I appreciate it. Thank you.
[01:31:51.110] - Tom Campbell
[01:31:53.010] - Big Rich Klein
If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. You enjoyed it. Will catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.