Rick Yarosh and Thomas Murphy: Sweethearts and Heroes

In this episode of Championship Leadership, we had an incredible interview with Rick Yarosh and Thomas Murphy, who will take us on a compelling and heartwarming journey as they recount how their paths crossed and the remarkable adventure that ensued.

Rick Yarosh, a wounded soldier and inspirational speaker, initially hesitated to join the anti-bullying organization Sweethearts and Heroes due to his discomfort with being labeled a hero. Tom Murphy, the co-founder of Sweethearts and Heroes, shares how he serendipitously discovered Rick’s story and felt an irresistible urge to bring him on board to spread a message of hope to young individuals grappling with hopelessness and bullying.

Together, they provide valuable insights into the challenges of embracing vulnerability and emphasize the significance of extending hope to young people confronting adversity. The narrative of Rick and Tom’s serendipitous union underscores the potency of human connections and the extraordinary influence their partnership has had on millions of students nationwide. This episode serves as an uplifting reminder of the indomitable spirit of humanity and the potential for positive transformation, even when faced with adversity.

In This Episode:

[7:54] Who is Rick Yarosh and Thomas Murphy, and what brought them to where they are today?

[29:03] Their vision they want to make?

[44:31] Episode takeaways.

About the Guest

TOM MURPHY – Founder

Tom Murphy is the proud husband and father of four living in the charming City of Saint Albans, VT. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA where his parents ran a small shelter and recovery home for the hopeless in their own house, Tom has gone on to take this mantra of helping and caring for others in need his life’s mission.

Tom graduated from Cooperstown High School and then became an All-American at the University of Brockport, taking second place at the 1997 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships. Tom spent the next 16 years advancing through the railroad industry, eventually becoming a Corporate Director for the world’s largest shortline regional railroad company, RailAmerica. He ran their National Rail Traffic Control Center until stepping down and pursuing his full-time passion of being a Superhero. On top of his “mild-manner” role in the railroad, Tom has gone on to become the successful entrepreneur of multiple small-town businesses, namely one of Northern Vermont’s premiere restaurants and bars – Twiggs: An American Gastropub and The Clothier.


Rick Yarosh is a Retired Sergeant with the United States Army turned husband and father of two. Rick was deployed to Iraq in December 2005 where he spent nine months before being severely injured by an IED in Abu Ghraib on September 1, 2006.

For half a year, Rick recovered in the hospital at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, fighting through his 2nd and 3rd degree burns on over 60% of his body. He had his right leg amputated below the knee, lost both ears, his nose, multiple fingers, and most of the function in both hands. For his heroic service, Rick received the purple heart and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Since then, Rick has spoken to millions from all walks of life, including sports teams, schools, churches, the military, non-profits, and even on Fox News! His message of overcoming adversity and turning a negative situation into a positive one has made Rick one of the world’s HOPE experts. Today, Rick is happily married and can honestly say he is better than he has ever been before. The only reason he would change that fateful moment on September 1 is if he could bring back his brothers in arms who were lost in combat.

Important Quotes:

“I love what Mother Theresa said, she said. Never worry about the number, she said. Just help that person next to you. You’ve changed the world. And I think that our our goal is to change the world. ”

“I think that’s a huge part of leadership is trusting that person that’s gonna lead the way. And I’m going to be there to make it as successful as possible. ”

“We all have this beautiful thing called hope inside of us, and it’s a choice that we make to give it to other people. And that’s what changes the world.”

“Heroes are just people that are willing to do things other people aren’t willing to do.”

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