I first met Tom Fritzlan at the age of 14 when Tom's grandson Cole and I became friends. Though our families had known each other for years, I had not been close to or even known the Fritzlans. But for Cole and I, the stories of our families together preceeded our fiendship and the tough reputations of the two patriarchs Tom Fritzlan and Dink Lenard. Tom had an aura surrounding him that was very distinct the day I walked up to him and introduced myself as he sat beneath a shade tree on a swing. He wasnt a large man, but when he offered his hand in friendship I realized the shear size and strength of his hands were undeniable. He grabbed my hand gently and then reached down and gave me a hard pinch on my leg! I wanted to scream like a girl, but I didnt want to show any signs of weakness. Since then I have endoured many Fritzlan pinches as it seems as though it is a family trait. Tom lived in an era that will never be again. It was a time of selfless hard work and self reliance that seems to be vacant in the world today. Tom would work a whole shift at the mill and then commence to shoe 20 or so head of horses. All in a days work. Tom was a man one could immediately admire. He was tough, gritty, hard working, true and he had a wonderful sense of humor . Tom Fritzlan was a cowboy, and my heros have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems. Thanks Tom, for being a man to look up to, and for the stories handed down for a couple of youngsters to have purpose for fulfillment.