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Mar 12, 2022

Full Circle

Full Circle

Kamryn McIntosh has become one of the names most synonymous with the women’s track & field program at Clemson University in recent years. The middle-distance star has excelled at a range of events during her four years in Tigertown and arrived after an illustrious prep career in her hometown of Hillburn, N.Y., while representing Suffern High School. While her performances on the track have cemented her legacy within Clemson’s record book, her actions outside of competition have only solidified her impact.

Born to a young mother on Oct. 27, 1999, McIntosh was raised from her earliest years to have a servant’s heart and a desire to help others. Early in 2020, during her senior year at Clemson, McIntosh was faced with the need to find a job. McIntosh was attracted to the services that Home Instead Senior Care provides to the elderly in the area, as it helps individuals maintain their quality of life.

“I am a people person in general, and I always like to help out wherever I can,” reflected McIntosh. “When I saw the opportunity to join Home Instead, I knew it was something I could do and be good at. I wanted to work, and I wanted to help people, so it was a great mix for me.”

Since beginning her time with the company last September, McIntosh has been able to work with many families in the Clemson area. However, few individuals stood out like Brenda Smith and Clarence Lomas.

Smith and Lomas had been companions for 20 years and lived together in Seneca, S.C. Through Home Instead, McIntosh joined the couple regularly to help them wherever needed, whether it be cleaning around the house, accompanying them on walks or just ensuring that they were comfortable throughout the day. Their time together was always routine and cheerful, as the three found comfort in one another. However, during McIntosh’s visit on March 8, 2021, their time together proved to be far from ordinary. McIntosh recalled the day in the following manner:

Everything seemed like a pretty normal day. Clarence wanted to go outside for some nice, fresh air and sun, so he went to sit for a bit, and I would check in on him periodically. I went to check on him one last time before I had to leave, which was supposed to be in about 15 minutes, and, when I checked, he had his jacket on and said he was hot, so we took his jacket off. A few seconds later, he started to look a little bit uncomfortable, and I asked him if he was OK. He said he was not feeling too well, so I asked him if he wanted something to drink or to get out of the sun, and then, he looked like he was starting to have trouble breathing. A few seconds later, he went unresponsive, and I tried to remain calm, and I told Brenda to call 911 while I performed CPR. He was sitting on a chair, and I could not really do CPR in a chair, so I had to lift him from the chair, lay him on the ground and then perform CPR … I was having a hard time with the situation because I had never gone through something like this. Quite frankly, it was scary for me, and I could only imagine what it was like for Brenda. When the paramedics arrived, I kept doing CPR and went down the list of everything that had happened up until that point, and then, they took over.

Later that day, it was declared that Lomas had passed away. After Lomas’ passing, the entire experience came full circle for McIntosh, as she found out that Lomas lived a life dedicated to serving Clemson University and Clemson Athletics.

Lomas, known to all as “Womp,” was a proud and loving father dedicated to his work as the manager of the Clemson University Canteen. In his role, Womp helped students and student-athletes alike with a servant’s heart, whether by providing short-order meals or managing the concessions for Clemson athletic events. After retiring from his managerial role in 1987, Womp continued to support the Clemson basketball and baseball teams by attending as many events as possible and never missing a football game. In addition to attending sporting events, Womp was a longtime member of IPTAY, providing support to Clemson Athletics through generous donations to help enhance the experience for all its student-athletes.

After learning this, McIntosh was compelled to attend the funeral and speak with Womp’s family. Sitting in attendance at the service was Stephen Lomas, Womp’s son and a retired lieutenant at Clemson University Fire & EMS. McIntosh met Stephen, Stephen’s wife, Melissa, and their two sons, Carson and Turner, for the first time and exchanged emotional words. McIntosh spoke about the impact his donations to IPTAY had on her and how a portion of those donations could have gone to her.

“Without knowing it, I was directly giving back to somebody that has done something to better my life. 

“It was moving to me and my wife that Kamryn had taken the time to come, and she had done so much already,” said Stephen in remembering the service. “She was there to thank my dad … She wanted to make sure we knew how important his giving was. It showed how selfless of a person she was.”

In the days that followed, McIntosh continued her work with Home Instead and returned to spending time with Brenda.

“Kamryn is a special person,” added Stephen. “Brenda told me that they went to a park one day just because Kamryn thought she needed to get out of the house.”

“This experience has changed me in the way that I look at a lot of things,” reflected McIntosh. “Life is short … A lot can happen in a small amount of time, and you have to take life one day at a time and do everything you can during that one day. You want to use up as much of that as you can.”

The future remains bright for McIntosh, as her impact on the world will continue to be made as she transitions out of her time as a Clemson student-athlete. After the Tigers’ 2021 track & field campaign ends, McIntosh will move north to Pennsylvania to attend the University of Pittsburgh and pursue her Master of Science in applied development psychology. Regardless of where McIntosh goes in the future, her time spent with Smith and Lomas will undoubtedly remain near to her heart as she continues to represent Clemson through her exemplary actions.