By Kay Boothe
Every newspaper has one. That one guy that you can always depend on, that one person that, no matter what, comes through with the goods. For us at the Messenger, that “guy” was Mr. Tom Bradshaw. He was our “go-to” photographer and more importantly, our friend.
Whether it was sending him to some far-away place (like Corrigan) or up in the air on a crane to get the perfect shot, Mr. Bradshaw was willing to do it! He even took a few from airplanes for us!
Regardless of the weather, rain, sleet, snow or hail he was out there. Extreme heat? No problem. Late night? He’d do it. Early morning? Better ask him nice and be prepared for “the look” but he would do it.
Christmas wasn’t Christmas until Mr. Bradshaw came in bearing enough chocolate to feed a small country. And oh my goodness, his bread pudding! Actually anything he decided to make was delicious. The man could cook.
He retired from Houston Police Department, and you’d think that would make him a bit jaded, but far from it. He had a huge heart and cared deeply for those around him.
There was not a major (or many minor) event in Houston County he was not a part of. From Pineywoods Fine Arts Association to the various high school gridiron games, Mr. Bradshaw was there, documenting our lives in photographs – weddings, city council, fires or celebrations – Mr. Bradshaw was there.
Never one to shy away or stand in the background, Mr. Bradshaw took control of any situation he felt needed his guidance. Just ask any number of groomsmen out there that didn’t want to stand still for pictures. They stood still. Need photos of about a zillion kids at the Houston County Fair? He was your man.
His generosity knew no bounds. If a kid was selling it, he bought it. If a cause needed his help, he provided it. If he was at an event and took a great picture of someone, you could bet they (or their Momma) got an 8×10 copy of it.
There is no way to calculate the impact he has had on this world. From Presidents (yes, United States Presidents) to foreign diplomats and heads of state Mr. Bradshaw photographed them all with the same care and skill that he did the 3-year-old in the park or the proud Mama in the stands. He impacted us all with his soul. Mr. Bradshaw was a devout Christian. And it showed.