A hypeman, a listening ear and a caring friend.
Paul Comstock, who died on Oct. 12, was a junior business systems and analytics major who was involved in Belmont Office of Leadership Development, the Belmont Data Experience, Bruin Vets and Belmont Hiking club.
He was known for the boisterous energy and joy that he brought to every aspect of his life.
“He was the hype man for sure. He'd always hoot and holler the entire hike, and he was just a friend to everybody. So that's why it's been really hard is because everybody knew Paul in the club,” said Avery Price, president of Belmont Hiking Club.
“He definitely left his mark and he wouldn't let anybody stand off by themselves,” she said.
Comstock was also a founding member of the Belmont Data Experience. He helped write the bylaws and constitution, but it wasn’t until the organization’s second semester that he got more involved, working with the club at a recent hackathon kickoff event in nearby Brentwood.
Hannah Deweese, president of the Belmont Data Experience, recalled a moment from that day.
She and one of the organization’s advisers were chatting prior to the competition when Comstock came up to to them.
“We were talking on the side where all these teams are around us,” Deweese said. “He’s like, ‘it seems like we're gonna win.’ I was like, ‘I think you could definitely win the academic categories,’ and he said, ‘No - the whole thing.’”
He also was honest with his team and with others to push them to do better.
Deweese said Comstock often challenged her in her job, often joking that he could do it better.
That ribbing pushed her to do better, she said.
“To love others how you want to be loved and that means tough love, and with Paul, that meant tough love to me,” she said.
Comstock’s motivating spirit was just one of the traits that made him unique. Another was his motivation and initiative.
“He was always looking for extra things he could do outside the classroom,” said Charlie Apigian, executive director of the Belmont Data Collaborative and one of the Belmont Data Experience advisers.
Comstock advovated for his teams and wanted them to succeed.
“The best part of the email was the last line he said, ‘and we're going to need snacks.’ I'm never going to forget that, that's going to be a rally cry for the rest of my life. When I'm in a hard project, I'm going to say, ‘you know what? We need snacks,’” he said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are a number of resources available including the Crisis Talk Hotline 855-274-7471, or on campus resources including Belmont Counseling which can be reached during office hours at 615-460-6856 as well as the TimelyCare app which is available 24/7 to all students.
This article was written by Braden Simmons