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Our Team

Tom Murphy

Thomas Murphy was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. At 12-years of age Tom and his family relocated to Cooperstown, NY where he graduated from Cooperstown High School. Tom went on to graduate from The State University of New York at Brockport, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in Human Psychology. While attending the University of Brockport Tom was inducted into The National Honor Society - Alpha Chi and The National Honor Society in Psychology - Psi Chi. Tom was also the proud recipient of the prestigious Brockport Alumni Scholarship in 1997. In 1996 & 97 Tom was awarded honors by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when he achieved the status of Academic All-American. Tom also went on to achieve All-American status by placing 2nd in the Nation at the NCAA wrestling tournament at 190lbs.

Tom is currently a proud husband and father of four and resides in the city of St. Albans. After graduating form Brockport State College Tom and his family moved to St. Albans, VT where he filled a position as a rail traffic control specialist for the New England Central Railroad (NECR). Shortly after his arrival, Tom was given the opportunity to establish a nationally recognized rail traffic control center for RailAmerica, Inc., parent company of the NECR. In January 2004 Tom initiated the establishment of the American Rail Dispatching Center (ARDC). Over 16 years Tom orchestrated the consolidation of over 80 short line and regional railroads under one roof. The ARDC has brought national recognition to the small city of St. Albans, VT.

Tom continues to keep his hat in the railroad ring; after leaving Genesee and Wyoming (owner of ARDC) he helped to coordinate the consolidation of the Rio Grande and Pacific railroads to their corporate headquarters in Ft. Worth, TX. Tom also helped them establish themselves as a rail traffic control center offering services to the short line and regional railroad industry.

Tom is an accomplished small business owner and entrepreneur. Owns one of the premier restaurants in Northern Vermont (http://www.twiggsvt.com).

Tom’s martial arts accomplishments began shortly after his move to St. Albans where he met and trained under the legendary Carlson Gracie and one of his most accomplished Black Belts, Julio Fernandez. Shortly after competing on an amateur level, Tom landed several big fights including a pay-for-view debut in King of The Cage’s (KOTC) “Payback.” Tom has also fought at the Trump Casino in Chicago and in Atlantic City. Tom then competed on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter 2. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) called Tom shortly after the reality show and offered him a shot at fighting in UFC 58. Tom won his UFC debut fight with a TKO win over the Canadian World Heavy Weight Champion.

Tom’s business experience and athletic background were combined with a collegiate teammate as they joined forces to start the Sweethearts and Heroes Message on anti-bullying, bystander empowerment, kindness and empathy. Tom has become one of the most engaging speakers on these topics and specializes in energizing students, teachers and parents. Tom and Jason have presented their unique message to over 1-million students, teachers and parents to date. Tom also speaks corporately on leadership, motivation and other topics such as goal setting and character development.

jason spector posing and smiling for the camera

Jason Spector

Jason Spector is a 17 year veteran physical education teacher, varsity wrestling coach, as well as amateur mixed martial artist, natural bodybuilder, husband and father of two boys. Jason and co-owner of Be a Hero, LLC, Thomas Murphy, were wrestling team mates and NCAA III All-Americans at SUNY College at Brockport. It can easily be said, that the Sweathearts and Heroes concept was invented by Tom and Jason nearly 20 years ago within the SUNY College at Brockport wrestling room. Both were each others "16th Century Bully", as they pushed each other to become the best versions of themselves. Jason went on to become a physical education teacher and wrestling coach, where he has spent thousands of hours "in the lab" studying, creating and testing the tools and strategies that save and change lives.

Rick Yarosh

Rick is a Retired Sergeant with the United States Army. Injured in Iraq on Sep. 1, 2006. He then spent 6 months in the hospital at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. He has many speaking engagements on his resume, speaking to sports teams, schools, churches, military, non-profits, etc. His message is one of overcoming adversity and turning a negative situation into a positive one.

Rick is a 2000 graduate of Windsor Central High School in Windsor, New York. After working at different jobs for four years he joined the Army as a Cavalry Scout in 2004. He was first sent to Fort Knox, KY for Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training where he spent four months. Rick was then assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Hood, TX. He was deployed to Iraq in December 2005 where he spent nine months before being severely injured by an IED.

Rick was burned over 60% of his body with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He had his right leg amputated below the knee, lost both ears, his nose, multiple fingers and lost most of the function in both hands. Years later, Rick can honestly say he is happier than he has ever been before. Rick says “I am no hero, but with my experience I can only hope to share what I’ve been through and make people understand that happiness is not far off”. He wouldn’t change a thing through his recovery other than bring back his buddies that were lost in combat. Never forget Sgt. Luis Montes and SFC Anthony Venetz.

You can visit his website here: rickyarosh.net


rick yarosh standing up in front of an audience giving a presentation
hope, rick yarosh, motivational speaking