John ComstockSpeaker, Survivor, Inspired Leader, The "13th Man"!
Graduating from college is a proud moment for all graduates, but for one Aggie, it’s been more than ten years in the making. John Comstock was the last survivor pulled out of the stack following the collapse of Bonfire in 1999. He’s known as the 13th man. Friday he fulfilled a promise he made to himself by earning his degree. For the last ten years John Comstock has been on a journey that’s shaped the rest of his life. “It’s been a long ten years but I’m just really glad to finally have my degree,” said John Comstock, a Texas A&M graduate. On Friday his time at Texas A&M came to an end as he and thousands of other students received their degrees. During the ceremony he received a standing ovation in Reed Arena when it was his turn on the stage. It’s a milestone and some would even say miraculous he’s with us today. Back in November of 1999 John was the last survivor to be rescued from the stacks when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed, leaving 12 people dead. “It was just a long hard journey and you know I had to drop and pick back up and drop a couple of times and come back but just persevered and finally graduated,” Comstock said. While the bonfire accident changed his life forever, including losing his left leg, John said his friends inspired him to press on. “Really you know I would say it would be having the support of my girlfriend and her family and also my brother and sister and you know just a lot of hard work,” he added. He admits it’s a bittersweet time as one chapter of life closes while a new one begins. But the Spirit of Aggieland never changes. “I guess I just enjoyed being a student you know and have a lot of free time you know whereas nowadays, now I’m just trying to go to work and stuff. Not nearly as much free time,” Comstock said. John is like a lot of students, who are still looking for jobs, but he says he’s ready to tackle his next challenges. “I don’t know, basically, start working, start earning some money, get out there in the world and see what it’s like,” he said. With a new Aggie Ring on his hand, he and his classmates sang the Aggie War Hymn one last time. Now that he’s a Former Student, John Comstock plans to live in either College Station or possibly back home in the Dallas area. He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development and is looking for a job.