A husband, a father, a son, a patriot—and our friend—a loss that becomes indelibly impressed upon our hearts—for the rest of our lives.
As a leader in the state of Missouri, many have opinions about Tom—that comes with leadership—but no one doubted his tenacity, courage and integrity in attacking waste, inefficiency, and corruption—a trait not often resident among politicians.
Tom charged ahead, he carried the torch of those uncompromising values that made our state and our country a better place.
So today, in this battlefield in Missouri there is now a gap in the lines that once was filled by a good man with the heart of a warrior.
What would Tom want us to do?
Unquestionably he would embolden us to pick up the torch and continue to charge up the hill! He would say that his values are our values—that this great cause transcends each of us as individuals. He would state: “It’s about the mission, not the man”!
Tom would also persuade us to be more respectful of each other—to care for each other—to never let our differences negate our unified values of freedom, justice, the Constitution, and the rule of law.
We can honor a man best, by honoring those values that he stood for—that he fought for.
First of all, he would want all of us to encourage one another, to foster a little kindness, as he and his family have experienced personally the vicissitudes of judgments and criticisms that comes to those who lead.
He would then convince us to spend more time with our family and friends; to recognize that they need us as much as we need them.
Then Tom would demand of all of us, as did Winston Churchill in the dark days of WWII, “Never, never give up!”
And finally, Tom would have a call for action. He would not hesitate. I can just hear him proclaim, with a sense of urgency, “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!”
Let us not allow the legacy of this honorable warrior to grow dim over the succeeding weeks, months and years, but let us carry the torch forward, each in our own way, inspired by the life of a true statesman—who made a difference.
Respectfully, John Brunner, March 2, 2015