Tom Rose and Tom Sechowicz
Tom Rose, a native of Fullerton, CA, and Tom Sechowicz, from Philadelphia, PA, were introduced to each other through a friend at a bar in Philadelphia in 1978.
Tom R earned a Bachelors degree and attended law school at Villanova University. He went on to work for two federal government agencies, the SBA (Small Business Administration) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Tom S earned his Bachelors from Penn State University and throughout his career worked for John Wanamaker’s, Bamberger’s, and then CareFirst Blue Cross-Blue Shield in Washington, DC.
Now retired, the couple maintain a primary residence in Philadelphia. They first visited Rehoboth in 1989 and, after a not so pleasant experience, didn’t return until 1998 after hearing of the “positive changes and acceptance toward the LGBT community.” Just two years later, they had a second home built here and have returned frequently ever since.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP and what events/activities have you been involved with since?
We started volunteering in about 2000, shortly after we constructed our house here. At that time, we could only volunteer during the summer or on weekends, but now we try to help when we can.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
We both have enjoyed meeting other volunteers, getting to know the wonderful people who make up our vibrant community, and serving CAMP Rehoboth and all it does.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth in our 25 years, which is your favorite and why?
It’s very hard to narrow down a favorite CAMP event, as they have all been special. Trying to pick one, perhaps LOVE weekends (4th of July) and all the vibrance it brought to the community.
We are celebrating a quarter century as a local LGBT non-profi. Pease tell us about a special anniversary you’ve celebrated over the last 25 years.
Without a doubt, it has to be September 16, 2013, when we celebrated our 35th anniversary by getting married in a small ceremony in Georgetown, DE.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
This is very easy for us. We love summer and actually welcome the influx of vacationers. Seeing the cross-section of people enjoying this wonderful place, and mingling in a way that is lacking in other communities, is very rewarding.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up.
TR - It has to be my paternal grandmother. She was an incredibly strong woman. At a young age, a widow with two small children, she immigrated to America from England. She supported herself and her children at any job she could find. Perhaps because she had seen and experienced discrimination, she was open and friendly to everyone.
TS - My paternal great grandmother was an amazingly strong and moral individual. Having lost her daughter (my dad’s mother) at an early age from tuberculosis, she welcomed my dad into her home and raised him to become the great man he is today.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Probably just relax by reading a good book.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Philadelphia, because it’s such a vibrant city and easy to walk to fine restaurants, shopping and the arts. And it’s also where we met in 1978!
Night owl or early riser and why?
Anyone, who truly knows us, would definitely say we are both early risers. Guess it goes back to the old saying, “the early bird catches the worm.” The earlier you get started at addressing your daily to-do list, the more satisfied you can feel at the end of the day.
Best year of your life and why?
1978; the year we began our life adventures together.
Favorite holiday and why?
Christmas. It somehow just seems to bring out the best in people.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
Neither of us expected to see what we have seen even in the past three-five years. The change is incredible! We give a lot of credit to those gay men and women, the pioneers, who through their lives, introduced their straight colleagues, friends and neighbors to the real gay community. Their efforts helped pave the way for the generations that followed.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
Of course, it would be easy to say it’s the significant increase in the number of people who come to Rehoboth each year, or now call Rehoboth home. But for us, it has to be the change of mindset and acceptance toward the LGBT community. Our first visit was 1989 and, as a result of the way we were treated and the names we were called, we did not return until 1998 when we heard about the changes taking place.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
TR - 1) Moving to South America, as a child. 2) Working in Southeast Asia for the World Bank. 3) Meeting TS. TS - 1) Being raised by wonderful parents. 2) Lots of travel opportunities…thanks to TR. 3) Meeting and marrying TR.
Describe an ideal date night.
Martinis and a good meal at a favorite restaurant followed by a night at the theater.
Yet another long political Presidential primary season lies ahead. Who do you expect to be nominated by each of the main parties?
It may be too early to tell given the number of nominees and the constant barrage of bickering. The early front-runners could lose speed or a new face could emerge. Let’s hope, however, whomever it may be it is someone capable of bringing together diverse opinions and finding a common ground for the good of the country, rather than the individual running.
What are you most thankful for?
Everything we have. We feel incredibly blessed with what life has afforded us.
On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, our sincere thanks to each of you for your many years of support and volunteer efforts at CAMP Rehoboth.