Survivor Wiki
Survivor Wiki

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 in Palau, which contributed to their unlikely and unprecedented winning streak, as well as tying the record for most individual Immunity Challenge wins in a single season, with five wins. His former ally, Ian Rosenberger, threw the Final Immunity Challenge and told Tom to take Katie Gallagher to the Final Two with him. He then won the title of Sole Survivor in a 6-1 vote. His leadership, survival, and social skills made him regarded as one of the most well-respected winners in the game's history.

He later returned for Heroes vs. Villains as one of the Heroes, but quickly found himself as an outsider of the Tribe's majority alliance. After finding and successfully using a Hidden Immunity Idol, Tom was eventually voted out in 16th place.


Retrieved from

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 (8), Declan (6) and Conor (4). They have one golden retriever, Guinness. Westman's birth date is January 4, 1964.[1]

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."[2]



On the first night of the competition, Tom 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 they 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 with 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 for 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 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 spend the night fishing if possible. After bringing back a bountiful booty of fish, the tribe feasted. Tom got 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 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 Immunity Challenge, the first castaway to bail would spend the night on a new beach alone called Exile Island. 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 were 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 that 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 were 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 were 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 of the challenge being for Loved Ones were 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 force 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 the 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 were 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 had 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 fire-making 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, this 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 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. He closed his case by 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 he felt she gave more honest answers.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 None Race to Shore Immunity Lost
Koror Supply Dump Reward/Immunity No Won
2 The Gauntlet Reward No Lost
Heads Up Immunity No Won
3 By Any Means Necessary Reward No Lost
Hot Pursuit Immunity No Won
4 Build a Better Bathroom Reward No Won
Sumo at Sea Immunity No Won
5 Sea Salvage Reward No Won
6 Shooting Gallery Reward No Lost
Build It Up, Break It Down Immunity Yes Won
7 S.O.S. Reward Yes Won
Floating Puzzle Immunity Yes Won
8 Cool Hand Balut Reward No Won
Under Current Immunity Yes Won
9 Perch Immunity Won
10 Water Tower Reward Won
Last Gasp Immunity Won
11 Missing in Auction
Kamikaze Immunity Lost
12 First Quencher Q&A Reward Lost
Second Chance Immunity Lost
13 Raft Rally Reward Invited
R.A.M. Immunity Won
14 Tower of Domination Immunity Won
Bob-Bob Buoy Immunity Won
Sole Survivor, Day 39

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.

Heroes vs. Villains[]

Tom was assigned to the Heroes tribe due to his popularity in Palau. When the Heroes lost the seasons first Immunity Challenge, Tom joined the rest of the tribe in unanimously voting out Sugar Kiper. Following her elimination, Tom found himself on the outs along with Colby Donaldson, and his fellow Palau castmate Stephenie. When Heroes lost immunity again, the trio tried to convince Cirie Fields, and Candice Cody to vote out Amanda Kimmel. At Tribal Council, Tom, Stephenie, and Colby voted for Amanda, but the rest voted for Stephenie, resulting in her elimination.

On Day 10, Tom found a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol in the jar of beans, but after J.T. Thomas read the clue out loud the majority of the tribe started searching for the idol. Tom found it, but he was caught by Amanda. When the Heroes lost the subsequent Immunity Challenge, the alliance of JT, Amanda, James Clement, Candice, Cirie, and Rupert Boneham planned to split the votes between Tom and Colby in case Tom played his idol. Tom tried to convince Amanda, James, and JT to voted out Candice, but Cirie convinced them to stick to the plan. Tom later told JT that they could use his idol and his (JT's) vote to blindside Cirie. At Tribal Council, JT flipped his vote to Cirie and Tom played his idol negating the three votes cast against him, and Cirie was blindsided.

The Heroes lost immunity again on Day 14. JT and Candice considered getting rid of James due to his injured leg which made him a liability. JT told Tom he was safe. However, at Tribal Council, JT and Candice remained loyal to their alliance so, Tom was voted out in a 5-2 vote with only Colby voting with him. He was the first of the four previous winners to get voted out, and the only previous winner not to make it to the merge and jury stages.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Heroes Battle Dig Reward No Won
Lock, Load and Light Immunity No Lost
2 A Crate Idea Reward/Immunity No Lost
3 Sumo in Mud Reward/Immunity No Won
4 Slip, Slide & Score Reward No Lost
Roll With It Immunity No Lost
5 Schmergen Brawl Reward No Lost
Blind Cube Crisis Immunity No Lost
Voted Out, Day 14

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 Out, Day 14

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



  • Tom's wife told him to wear swim trunks to the photo-shoot before the start of Palau because she remembered how on Pearl Islands, the contestants were surprised to start the game 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 did not receive an elimination vote against him.
  • Tom is tied for the record of most individual Immunity Challenge wins in a single season, with five. The other record holders are Colby Donaldson, Terry Deitz, Ozzy Lusth, Mike Holloway, and Brad Culpepper.
    • Tom is the first of two winners to win five individual Immunity Challenges and go on to win the season. He would be followed by Mike Holloway.
  • In Palau, Tom sat out of 3 consecutive challenges, the most of any male contestant.
  • Tom won the most challenges in a single season out of any Sole Survivor, with a total of 17 challenge wins in Palau.
    • He is tied with Boo Bernis (in Fiji) for the most wins in a single season.
  • Tom is the least vulnerable Sole Survivor, having been eligible to receive votes against him at Tribal Council only 3 times.
  • Tom is the first castaway in their forties at the time of filming to become the Sole Survivor. He would be followed by Denise Stapley in Philippines, and Tony Vlachos in Winners at War.
  • Tom is the only Sole Survivor to not be part of a merged tribe, as there was no merge in Palau.
    • As such, Tom is the only Sole Survivor to have been the highest placing member of only one tribe.
  • Tom is the first firefighter to win Survivor. He would be followed by Jeremy Collins, who won Cambodia.
  • Tom is the last winner to win a season not featuring Hidden Immunity Idols.
  • Tom was asked to compete on Micronesia, but he declined as he didn't want to ruin "the good image he had maintained among the fans."[7]
  • Tom is the oldest member of the Heroes tribe.
  • According to their profiles for Heroes vs. Villains, Candice Woodcock, Coach Wade, and Colby Donaldson stated that Tom was the past Survivor castaway that they respected the most.[8][9][10]
  • Tom is the first player to ever play a Hidden Immunity Idol before the merge.
  • Tom is the first returning player to play twice and only be on two tribes throughout his Survivor career. Unlike the others who share this feat, Tom was a part of the jury phase on one of his seasons.
  • In Heroes vs. Villains, Tom is the only previous winner not to reach the merge.


Preceded by
S9 chris t
Chris Daugherty
Sole Survivor Titleholder
S10 tom t
Tom Westman
Succeeded by
S11 danni t
Danni Boatwright
Survivor: Palau Castaways
S10 angie t
S10 ashlee t
 Bobby Jon
S10 bobbyjon t
S10 caryn t
S10 coby t
S10 gregg t
S10 ian t
S10 ibrehem t
S10 james t
S10 janu t
S10 jeff t
S10 jenn t
S10 jolanda t
No tribe
S10 jonathan t
S10 katie t
S10 kim t
S10 stephenie t
S10 tom t
No tribe
S10 wanda t
S10 willard t
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Castaways
S20 amanda t
S20 candice t
S20 cirie t
S20 coach t
S20 colby t
S20 courtney t
S20 danielle t
S20 jt t
S20 james t
S20 jerri t
S20 parvati t
S20 randy t
S20 rob t
S20 rupert t
S20 russell t
S20 sandra t
S20 stephenie t
S20 sugar t
S20 tom t
S20 tyson t