‘People still have very heavy hearts’: Community remembers Plum borough manager

PLUM, Pa. — The community remembered Plum’s borough manager Wednesday as a funeral procession made its way through several neighborhoods.

“I think he will be long remembered,” said Plum Senior Community Center Director Karen Hochberg.

A group of people stood outside the Plum Senior Community Center in silence, holding signs and reflecting on Borough Manager Mike Thomas as his funeral procession drove down Center New Texas Road.

“People still have very heavy hearts,” said Hochberg. “Many of the people here at the Center were touched by this. It’s hard to stand there. I’ve only known him in the last five years, but people have known him and known his contributions for many many years.”

Thomas and five other people were killed when a house exploded in Plum’s Rustic Ridge neighborhood on August 12. Thomas and his family lived one home over. His wife and daughter were in their home and were able to get out after the explosion. Meanwhile, Thomas was inside the home that exploded. People who knew and worked with him called him a visionary who will be greatly missed.

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“It’s tough,” said Hochberg. “We think so much of his family and his daughter. I mean here’s a man who’s a public servant and gave so much and is not going to get to enjoy all the fruits of his labor and see wonderful milestones of his family. That’s where our hearts are heavy.”

In Thomas’ obituary, his family asked instead of flowers for people to donate to Plum Rotary, Oakland Catholic Soccer or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 from noon to 8 p.m. for anyone directly impacted by the explosion.

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