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One donor's desire to help children leaves a lasting mark on Camp Riley

Camp Riley

Tom Martin may not have known a child who visited Camp Riley, a place that has served hundreds of children with physical and cognitive diagnoses in its 67-year history, but his heart led him to make a substantial gift that will benefit future campers for years to come.

When Tom passed away last May at the age of 77, he designated $40,000 for Camp Riley. He worked at Peerless Pump in Indianapolis, a manufacturer of commercial pumping systems, and a longtime supporter of Riley Children’s Foundation, for his entire career. Bill Jared, Tom’s stepbrother, thinks that had a major influence on his stepbrother’s decision to leave such a generous gift to Camp Riley.

The two became stepbrothers when they had already reached their late thirties and early forties. So, while they didn’t grow up together, Bill says he’s learned a great deal more about his stepbrother since Tom’s passing.

In handling Tom’s arrangements in the weeks following his death, Bill would talk with his former colleagues at Peerless Pump. “They remember his generosity, his integrity and his dry sense of humor,” says Bill. “I got a flood of emails from those who were extremely supportive and had nothing but nice things to say about him.”

Tom Martin

Tom joined Peerless Pump shortly after graduation from Butler University. Eventually, that decision would lead to his world travels. “He was a sales engineer,” says Bill. “He was good at designing pumping systems, but primarily his job was sales.” Tom’s travels took him to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela and Greece. He even lived in Jordan for some time. “It seems he had been on virtually every airline known to man,” says Bill, who said Tom collected artwork from all over the world as well.

When not traveling, woodworking was one of Tom’s passions as he built his own woodworking shop. He created novelty pens custom-made from exotic woods and shared them with friends.

“He was generous on every level,” says Bill. “I think he’s been very generous with Camp Riley, but he was also generous with friends.”

Bill recalled that once, while Tom was visiting Saudi Arabia, family members of a friend living there were trying to track the man down to let him know his father was about to pass away. “He scoured the Middle East until he found him to let him know that he had to go home and be with his father. This was before the days of cell phones. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

Tom’s planned gift will help Camp Riley continue allowing children with physical and cognitive diagnoses have adventures that help them build confidence and friendships.

Thanks to donors like Tom, Camp Riley has never turned away a child due to financial need and can continue helping kids experience life without limits.

To explore ways to add Riley to your estate plans, please contact Planned Giving Director Alexandra Beach, JD at (317) 624-2675 or