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Tom Westman

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Tom Westman

S20 Tom Westman

S10 Tom Westman

Contestant Profile
Birth Date January 4, 1964 (1964-01-04) (age 51)
Hometown Sayville, New York
Occupation NYC Firefighter;
Motivational speaker


Tribe(s) Koror
Placement Winner
Alliance(s) Koror Alliance
Challenge(s) Won 17
Vote(s) Against 0
Day(s) Lasted 39

Heroes vs. Villains

Tribe(s) Heroes
Placement 16/20
Challenge(s) Won 2
Vote(s) Against 8
Day(s) Lasted 14

Tom Westman is the Sole Survivor of Survivor: Palau. He later competed on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

A natural born leader, Tom is best known for his leadership over the Koror tribe, which led to their unlikely and unprecedented winning streak. Tom is also remembered for being able to convince his former ally Ian Rosenberger to throw the Final Immunity Challenge, giving Tom his fifth immunity win and subsequently the title of Sole Survivor. His leadership, survival, and social skills made him regarded as one of the most likable winners in the game's history.

He later returned for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains as one of the Heroes, where he quickly found himself on the outs of his tribe. After finding and successfully using a Hidden Immunity Idol, Westman was eventually voted off, finishing in 16th place.



Born in Queens, New York, Tom Westman attended Archbishop Molloy High School, where he was a peer group counselor and member of the track team. In 1982, he held the school record in the pole vault, 14' 6", which held for 20 years. He then studied history for three years at the State University of New York in Binghamton. In 1985, Westman followed his father's footsteps and joined the New York City Fire Department. He is currently a Lieutenant of Ladder Company 108 in Brooklyn. Simultaneously, he is finishing his undergraduate degree at Queens College, the City University of New York, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.

Westman enjoys sailing, skiing, scuba diving, golfing and cooking. He is most happy spending time with his family and friends. He describes himself as gregarious, practical and competitive. He is most proud of his department's response to the rescue efforts of September 11, 2001, and the everyday efforts to help alleviate the suffering in New York City. His hero is his daughter, Meghan, who lost her hearing to meningitis at 18 months old and, after receiving a cochlear implant at 2 years old, is currently mainstreamed and thriving in the third grade.

Westman is a member of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the Fire Department of New York Emerald Society. He was also a member of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Having been recognized for his support by Disabled Sports, USA, in 2001, Westman has returned every year since to volunteer as an instructor where he helps introduce recently disabled veterans to adaptive skiing.

Westman currently resides in Sayville, New York with his wife, Bernadette, and their three children, Meghan, Declan and Conor. They have one golden retriever, Guinness. Westman's birth date is January 4, 1964.

Heroes vs. Villains

Tom Westman (45)
Tribe: Heroes
Hometown: Long Island, NY
Current Residence: New York, NY
Personal Claim To Fame: “Being a proud member of the FDNY as a Lieutenant of Ladder Co.108 in Brooklyn.”
Inspiration in Life: “My parents.”
Previous Finishes: Palau: Winner­
Favorite Past Moment: “Palau Sunsets.”
Previous Survivor He Respects Most: Jenn Lyon (Palau)
Previous Survivor He Respects Least: “I’d rather not comment. I don’t know these guys well enough to say who I respect the least.”
Why Did He Come Back?: “It was so much fun the first time aroun­d. I couldn’t resist having another adventure.”

Survivor: Palau

On the first night of the competition, Tom Westman aligned himself with Ian RosenbergerKatie Gallagher, and Stephenie LaGrossa. The next day, it was revealed that tribes will be formed by schoolyard pick and the last two people would go home. Tom was selected by Katie, who was selected by Ian, to be part of what would be the Koror tribe. Tom would pick Janu Tornell to be on the tribe.

At the inaugural Immunity Challenge on Day 3, Tom suggested to only take the fire making kit, in contrast to Ulong when Jolanda Jones wanted to take as much as possible. Despite their an apparent age disadvantage in contrast to the much collectively younger Ulong, Koror won immunity, flint, and the right to choose camps. With minimal input from the other tribe members, Tom suggested to start anew. Koror's decision to move out proved to be a disastrous one, as they capsized on their way to their new island, ostensibly losing their fire-making kit in the depths of the sea. Reaching their new camp did not help either, as the beach teemed with rats.

Tom had become the leader of Koror and one its main providers, along it Ian. At the next Reward Challenge, Tom faced off against Jeff Wilson. Despite a hard fought battle, Tom lost to Jeff and Koror lost to Ulong. At the Immunity Challenge, Tom lead Koror to another victory. At the next Reward Challenge, both tribes had to pick a representative for building a bathroom. Janu, Coby Archa, and Caryn Groedel all wanted the job, but Tom ignored them in favor of Ian and Gregg. Coby became aware of Tom's Alliance. Koror won the Reward Challenge and the production team remodeled Koror's shelter, which they needed so desperately. At the Immunity Challenge, Tom's opponent was Bobby Jon. The two battled twice, with Tom winning both times. The men of Koror along with Janu won Koror its fourth Immunity Challenge in a row.  Back at camp, Tom had to climb over Willard Smith to tend to the fire. Willard claimed that his age prevented him from helping at camp. Tom viewed this as "Why should I do this when others can do it for me." The next challenge was purely for reward because both tribes had to go to Tribal Council. Koror won again as usual. After the challenge, Tom was quick to nominate Willard for elimination for being the tribe's biggest detriment. He added that Willard can do well in puzzle challenges at the merge and can take one of the seats at Final Tribal Council. The tribe complied and Willard was unanimously voted out. Tom competed in the next Reward Challenge along with Gregg, Coby and Caryn. They lost to Ulong in the first time in days. However, that would be the paltry group of four win a challenge. Koror won all remaining challenges and reduced Ulong to one person, Stephenie. Coby was becoming more and more aggravated with Tom because he believed that that Tom was encouraging the women to act lazy.

On Day 22, Stephenie arrived at Koror beach with a container. It had a note, explaining that Ulong was conquered and Stephenie is now a member of Koror. Tom remembered his alliance with Stephenie and promised to protect her. A native fisherman came to the group, wanting to teach the group how to fish. Tom was ecstatic because he can interact with the locals and respect them. Coby wanted the other men to spent the night fishing if possible. After bringing back a bountiful booty of fish, the tribe feasted. Tom gotten drunk on some rum, much to Katie's amusement. Tom won the first individual immunity when everyone else dropped out of the challenge for food. Tribal Council was held immediately after of the challenge and Coby was voted out for his dislike of Tom and his alliance revealing the tribe's secrets to Stephenie. Tom, Caryn, Gregg and Janu won the next Reward Challenge, allowing to them to partake in a traditional Palauan feast. Tom enjoyed interacting with the locals. Janu had to excuse herself from the feast, but she helped herself to the leftovers meant for the others. At the lmmunity challenge, the first castaway to bail would the night on a new beach alone. Tom comically considered dropping out to get away from the rats. In the end, Janu opted out first and Tom won his second Immunity Challenge. When Janu returned, she wanted to leave the game. The others (Tom included) wanted Stephenie gone for her athleticism, competitive spirit, and determination to win. When Janu realized this, she laid her torch down to stop them.

After Janu left, Stephenie was angered that they was going to send her to the jury rather than someone who wanted to be voted out. Tom calmed Stephenie, even handing her the Immunity Necklace. However, he deemed it his safest option to eliminate the last remaining Ulong member. The final seven gotten envelopes with money in them from Tree Mail, foreshadowing a Survivor Auction. Based on the note at came with it, Tom speculated that more than Food will be sold at the Auction. He was right when Jeff offered letters from home. The letters was the only thing the firefighter and father purchased at the auction. At the Immunity Challenge, Tom did well but accidentally gave Ian the immunity win. Back at camp, Caryn informed him that Stephenie was trying to get the women to vote him out. Tom was confused by this, stating that she was better off with the women. Stephenie was unanimously voted out for her scheming. At the final six Reward Challenge, Tom was the second person out after Caryn. Katie knocked Ian out of the challenge in order to go on reward. Tom and Ian realized with Katie on their side, Gregg and Jenn was planning to eliminate them once Caryn is gone. Tom encouraged the outsider to pretend like she is going home in order to enforce a tie. His fears if the challenge being for Loved Ones  was confirmed when the others return with their loved ones. At the Immunity Challenge, Tom made it to the final round against Ian. His poor marksmanship caused him immunity once again. Ian told Katie of the plot, which she was against. Unwilling to enforce a tie, Katie voted against Gregg, blindsiding him.

Before the Reward Challenge, Tom recommended to Ian that he pick a woman to join him on reward if he won, therefore preventing a women's alliance from forming. However, Ian won the Reward Challenge and asked Tom to join him. When he returned, he persuaded Katie to stay loyal. Katie described it as if he was threatening her. Tom resumed his dominance when he won the final five Immunity Challenge. At Tribal Council, Caryn revealed that he and Ian was controlling the game. Frightened by this, everyone voted off Caryn, making her the fifth member of the jury. The next Tree Mail had a feast awaiting them. Tom was happy because they gotten something because they made the final four. Tom beat out Ian to win immunity again. After the challenge, Ian said that it would be a difficult choice for him. Taking this as a sign that Ian would vote him out if he hadn't won immunity, Tom voted against Ian at Tribal Council. This caused a tie, but instead of drawing rocks, Ian and Jenn faced off in a firemaking challenge. Ian won easily, eliminating Jenn from the competition. After Tribal Council, Tom berated Ian for his apparent lack of loyalty, causing him to break down in tears. After the Rites of Passage, the final three competed in their Immunity Challenge. Katie was the first to drop out after about five hours. Tom offered to take Ian to Day 39 if he steps down. Ian refused, saying he wanted to duke it out. Eventually the guilted ridden Ian offered to step down if Tom took Katie to the final two. Tom still offered Ian a seat at Final Tribal Council, but Ian insisted stating he Tom and Katie's friendship meant more to him, and he was willing to make the sacrifice. Tom said that Ian had earned his respect. An impromptu Tribal Council was held, and Tom confirmed Ian's elimination.

At the Final Tribal Council, the jury vilified Katie. Tom was not spared from the jury's wrath either. Coby said that Tom played a dirty game, whether he would admit it or not. He would give his vote depending on answers given to the jury. Stephenie felt that Tom didn't protect her enough. Jenn viewed him as a chauvinist and was disrespectful to her. Tom answered the jury's questions and criticism to the best of his ability. His closed his case but saying that "You met the real Tom Westman, good or bad". In the end, Tom won the title of Sole Survivor in a 6-1 vote. Coby voted for Katie because she gave more honest answers.

Voting History

Tom's Voting History
Episode Tom's
Voted Against
1 Koror Tribe Immune
2 Koror Tribe Immune
3 Koror Tribe Immune
4 Koror Tribe Immune
5 Willard -
6 Koror Tribe Immune
7 Koror Tribe Immune
8 Koror Tribe Immune
9 Coby Individual Immunity
10 No Vote1
11 Stephenie -
12 Gregg -
13 Caryn Individual Immunity
14 Ian;
Individual Immunity
Ian Individual Immunity
Jury Votes
for Tom
Caryn, Gregg, Ian,
Janu, Jenn, Stephenie
Sole Survivor, Day 39

^1 In Exile Island, Tom won the Immunity Challenge, but his immunity was voided due to Janu quitting the game.
^2 In The Ultimate Shock, the vote ended with a 2-2 tie between Ian and Jenn, forcing a revote. Tom did not change his vote on the revote.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

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Statistics of Tom Westman
Seasons competed 2
Total number of days 53
Challenge Wins
Tribal wins 13
Individual wins 6
Total 19
Tribal Council
Total votes received 8
Exile Island
Times exiled N/A
Redemption Island
Days spent at Redemption Island N/A
Duels won N/A

Voting History

Tom's Voting History
Episode Tom's
Voted Against
1 Sugar -
2 Amanda -
3 Heroes Tribe Immune
4 Cirie Amanda,
Candice, Cirie
5 James Amanda, Candice,
J.T., James, Rupert
Voted Off, Day 14

^1 In Tonight, We Make Our Move, Tom used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating 3 votes against him.


  • In Summer of 2009, Tom, along with the other first eighteen Survivor winners, appeared on a TV Guide special 'Survivor Millionaires: Where Are They Now?[1]
  • On January 9, 2010, Tom attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party along with all of his Heroes vs. Villains cast mates.
  • In February 2010, Tom appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" as Top Ten List Presenter #5 along with nine other Survivor castaways.[2]
  • Tom was inducted into the Survivor Hall of Fame in 2011 along with Cirie Fields and Ozzy Lusth.


  • Tom's wife told him to wear swim trunks to the photo-shoot before the start of Survivor: Palau, because she remembered how on Survivor: Pearl Islands, the contestants were surprised to start the games with only the clothes they had on them. Thus, when it happened again on Palau, Tom was prepared.
  • Tom is the only castaway from Palau who attended Tribal Council but not receive a vote against him.
  • Tom is the first male Sole Survivor of an even-numbered (spring) season.
  • Tom is the fifth winner to not get any votes cast against him, following Tina Wesson, Ethan Zohn, Brian Heidik and Sandra Diaz-Twine.
  • Tom is the only Sole Survivor to be a part of only one tribe for the whole duration.
  • Tom is the first player to ever play a Hidden Immunity Idol pre-merge.
  • Tom, along with Russell Swan, Francesca Hogi and Colton Cumbie, has the record among the returning players for the least number of tribes they are affiliated with in all seasons with two, with Tom only being part of Koror (never merged) and the Heroes (eliminated pre-merge) in Survivor: Palau and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, respectively.


Preceded by
S9 chris t
Chris Daugherty
Sole Survivor Titleholder
S10 tom t
Tom Westman
Succeeded by
S11 danni t
Danni Boatwright

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