Testimony of Tom Curtis, Co-Founder of SOS Events
In Joshua 1:8 the Bible talks about success. I had a desire in life to be very successful. I thought I had reached my goal. I had a good family, a great business and all the material things I had ever dreamed of.
One day I planned to take 20 of my business associates to Put-in-Bay for the day on my motor yacht, purchased from Hershey Chocolate Company. When I got as far as the harbor light, there was a radio call from the Coast Guard. They gave me instructions to go to a land line phone and call my home. I knew the nearest land line phone was at a marina about ½ hour away.
My secretary and others were told not to call me unless it was an emergency. That ½ hour ride was very stressful not knowing what had occurred. When I arrived at the marina, I went to the phone to call home. When the call was answered I was told something terrible happened and to come home immediately. I needed a car to get back and found a friend who was willing to drive me. It was a 2 hour drive and on the way we listened to the radio. The announcer said there had been an explosion in the area where I lived and a little boy was critically burned. Needing to call home again we stopped to use a pay phone. This time I asked if my son had been burned. “Go to the hospital,” I was told.
My son Nick, 12 years old, was playing at home with 3 friends when a gasoline can stored in the carport, on some cartons, overturned on him and he was covered in gas. The details are sketchy. When Nick went to ask his mother for a change of clothes, she opened the door, he was a ball of flames and burned over 80% of his body.
When I got to the hospital, the doctors told me, “Nick’s chance of survival is zero.” Champion Spark Plug Company offered to fly Nick to the Boston Shrine Hospital. He was in that hospital for 3 months where he went through much pain and suffering. All I could do was watch my son in torment. I tried to pray but I thought God only answered prayer in a church. I did not know the Lord. Many of the churches in Boston were closed and chained shut during the week. No one except one lady, who gave me a Bible, even tried to witness to me.
In the meantime, business was failing for lack of leadership and I had to fly home to Toledo to try to get things back on track. While in Toledo, I received a phone call from the hospital that said I needed to return immediately as Nick was failing fast. “Go right up to see Nick; he will not be with us much longer” I was told when I got back to the hospital.
I held Nick’s hand and he asked me this question, “Dad, do you know Jesus Christ personally?” My reply was, “Nick there is no way anyone can know Jesus because He is dead.” Nick said, “Dad, I know Him” and died.
It was after the death of my son in 1971 that I realized business, yacht and even church attendance brought no peace. My heart was broken and 9 years went by until a new Christian came into my office one afternoon and said, “Tom Curtis, do you know what’s wrong with you?” My answer was, “Get out of my office.”
He left but he went and asked people to pray for me. He came back a few minutes later and invited me to go to church on that Wednesday night. I felt bad the way I had treated him so I consented to go. The pastor preached a sermon that I thought was all about me. The Pastor asked some questions I had never been asked before, “Do you believe the Bible?” “Do know you are a sinner?” “Do you know Jesus Christ personally?” I heard that somewhere before, but where?
When the preacher gave the invitation, I begged God to save me. The change in my life was immediate and I promised God I would serve Him the rest of my life and tell everyone I could about a relationship with Jesus. Bible study and prayer became a priority, a desire to choose friends who loved God, and a great desire to tell others they need to be born again. Many trials came into my life: loss of health, loss of all material gain and profit.
Through it all God has given me an even stronger desire to serve the Lord. Since retiring from a successful business career, I have since been called to win souls for over 30 years. In 2001 my wife, Carolyn, and I founded SOS Events ministry (Serving Our Savior) to reach the lost for Jesus in America.