Two weeks ago, we lost a great friend and 19 year Shepley employee to a battle with cancer. Troy Towne worked for us on Nantucket starting back in 2000, when he was our only delivery driver. Troy seemed to know every single person on Nantucket. If waves were awarded points, Troy would be the high scorer in the greetings league. I always felt like I was riding with the mayor of Nantucket when we drove anywhere. Unfailingly polite, he would make a point of letting others pull out first, so as not to hold them up behind his delivery truck. Troy was a great rigger and could always figure out how to get materials delivered into any difficult spot. He just made things happen and treated even unreasonable requests with professional, positive, get it done respect. “No problem” was a constant reply.
We have had many conversations over the years about how to pull good results out of lousy situations. Neither of us would have imagined that he would be facing the ultimate lousy situation, fighting for his life. We learn what people are made of by how they handle insurmountable odds. Troy simply didn’t take the odds at face value. He kept his chin up, he didn’t complain, and he didn’t indulge in self pity.
Troy was diagnosed with cancer over 4 years ago. That’s a long time to keep looking at the bright side. That’s a lot of trips to Boston, and a lot of experimental therapies. When you live on Nantucket, Boston isn’t an hour away, it’s most of a day away. Cancer is exhausting in so many ways.
I’d like to think we’d all be as courageous and well tempered as Troy has been through this, but I’d also like to think I could throw a football like Tom Brady. Troy will remain for us a champion who fought through a situation that he and his family didn’t deserve.
Last night, the Nantucket Builders Association started a scholarship named in Troy’s honor. If like so many people, you knew Troy, or if you didn’t but are intrigued by the story of someone who showed so much heart, donations to the scholarship fund may be made by sending a check made out to the Nantucket Builders Association, PO Box 3446, Nantucket MA, 02584 with the memo line filled out to read “Troy Towne scholarship fund”.
Troy, always thinking of others first, would approve of someone else benefitting from his memory. We flew all flags at our locations at half mast for the full month of February in his honor. We will miss you, but will carry a bit of you with us. Thank you for leaving us your spirit!