Tom – Ventura County Chapter Chair
Tom purchased his first handgun in 2019. Later, a close friend asked if he belonged to the CRPA. At that time Tom had never heard of the California Rifle and Pistol Association. Today, Tom is a CRPA Life Member, Southern California Volunteer, and Chairman of the Ventura County Gun Owners, a CRPA Chapter.
Originally, Tom wanted to attend a CRPA Chapter meeting, but because there was not a chapter locally, he started one. The Ventura County Gun Owners, CRPA Chapter now has nearly 300 members, an average of 60 of whom attend their monthly meetings. The Ventura County Sheriff was featured as the chapter’s guest speaker and over 160 people were in attendance for that meeting.
Tom is a financial advisor by profession and has a thriving practice. He also volunteers at his synagogue in a few different roles, one of which is helping with security. In addition, Tom is a board member of the Woodland Hills Tax & Estate Planning Council, Inc. and currently runs its website. He also enjoys babysitting his 1- year- old Grandson James during the week. Tom shares of his volunteerism, “God has blessed me with good health and a decent brain and a supportive wife and a successful business and I feel obliged to make as my thanks for those gifts, acts of service.” The CRPA is grateful for Tom and his invaluable service.
How would (someone) describe you?
TE: Do you mean aside from looking like Tom Cruise’s identical twin? Hopefully as funny, sharp, driven, outgoing, fun, generous, kind, and probably sometimes too sharp, and a little sarcastic, and challenged to suffer fools gracefully and a good Jew and a good husband and a good dad and a good Zayde (Yiddish for grandpa).
Could you tell me a little more about your background and what role volunteerism has played in your life and your family’s life?
TE: I’m a religious Jew, which kind of dictates my behavior. It starts with those dictates, which I run my life to accommodate. I’m married to my amazing wife Elise for 37 years. We have 2 daughters, and a new, first! grandchild, James. I’ve been a financial advisor for almost 40 years, and I love my job and my clients now more than ever. All the above is the infrastructure that allows me the time and provides the emotional support I need to volunteer. My religion stresses that my job is to improve myself and improve the world. My volunteering is one way I try to help improve the world.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
TE: My wife Elise is terrifically supportive of my efforts. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it if she wasn’t. I’m inspired by everyone I’ve worked with at the CRPA so far, and I’m inspired by my fellow VCGO Chapter Board members. They are a wonderfully committed group: Thaddeus Wojcik, Jack Gerson, Paul Katz, Sandra Katz, Alissa Marangola, Michael Cozzie, Tammy VonBuck, and James Fraser. They should each get their own interview!
Do you have a message to share?
TE: The Second Amendment needs defense in California. The CRPA is leading the charge in that regard. They need our sweat and our treasure. Get involved, become a member, or upgrade your membership, volunteer to help, and prepare to find all of that more fun than you had any idea it would be.
What is it that you wish more people in our community knew about 2A?
TE: That it’s a right, derived from God, and not limited nor limitable, and not time-bound, and applicable to every one of us. That without it, arguably, no other rights would matter.
What was your very first firearm experience /exposure?
TE: When I was training for my black belt in Aikido, I made friends with a former Marine. He took me to an indoor range and showed me how to and let me shoot his two semi-automatic handguns. This was over 30 years ago, and I still remember experiencing a jam, and freaking out, and setting the gun down on the counter fearfully, thinking it might explode or something, and letting him know. I watched as he cleared the jam in a moment and got me back on the firing line. I think back to that today in the context of the hundreds of hours of training I’ve now had as a CCW license holder, and the countless jams I’ve had to clear in the heat of a timed exercise and am very happy to have gotten to the level of comfort and familiarity with firearms that I now enjoy.