I was privileged to listen to Jennie Taylor speak to a group of elected officials from across the state. Her words moved me, and I wish to share some of her words with the people of our city.
Some may not know that Jennie Taylor is the wife of the late Mayor of North Ogden, Major Brent Taylor. Brent was called to active duty to serve his fourth combat tour and second in Afghanistan shortly after being elected to his 2nd term as Mayor of North Ogden City. He was killed in combat during that deployment, leaving behind Jennie and their seven children. Newly widowed with young children, Jennie wasn’t sure what to do next. She chose to serve.
Jennie has dedicated so much of her life after this devastating loss to serving. She works to raise awareness of veterans, government, patriotism, and service. Her words to all these elected officials challenged us to continue to serve the people we represent. To this group of city officials, she said, “While balancing the unknown details of each tomorrow, your job is a lot harder than it looks and pays a lot less than people think. And yet, it is the job you took and likely worked hard to get.” Her challenge to the audience of elected officials was to continue to serve. “Our government is our people. You are one of us, elected by us, entrusted to make decisions for us,” said Taylor. At times, it may seem the masses are apathetic. Not all understand the inner workings of government. Still, many did the most American thing by voting for one of their own to study, analyze, and resolve those problems not everyone has the time to address.
With another election coming up, it is a reminder that we all have a part in this by casting a ballot. Voting in an election is our part. Each one of us is tasked to elect those who will serve the best interests of us all.
In this month of November, we also celebrate Veterans Day. We honor those like Major Taylor who served both in our military and in public office. Many in our community have served in the military during peace and conflict. We honor them on November 11th. Most of our family trees include multiple members who served in the military. We can honor those who sacrificed by passing down those stories of service.
I tell my own children about my father, Lt. Colonel Frank Maughan, who served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded a purple heart and multiple bronze stars. Like many veterans, I might not have known about the stories associated with those medals had I not been able to listen to others who served with him. Such stories of bravery are often only shared with those who could empathize from experience, such as those who also served. Sometimes, even close family may be perceived by a veteran as not being capable or understanding the way someone else who served can.
My own family tree includes a cousin who is an active-duty Blackhawk Helicopter pilot, a brother-in-law who is an Air Force intelligence officer, an Army Doctor, Army Engineer, and more. I am sure most all in our city can find Veterans in their own family tree to honor specifically this Veterans Day as I have. Learn and share their stories among family so that this service will not be forgotten. Commemorate and share the story from your own family with children and friends this Veterans Day.
Service is not limited to those in uniform or those elected to an office, such as those who have sworn an oath to serve others. A community’s level of service directly equates to its level of peace. The Dalai Lama said, “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” I suggest there is no greater deterrent to all other negative emotions and behavior than to serve others less fortunate. The rewards belong to any who will give the things they have in abundance such as time, talent, compassion, energy, friendship, patience, or empathy. Find what you have to give, and you will find that this goodness will multiply for you.
The story of Major Taylor shows us service in the military as well as in public office. I conclude my message to all in our city with the thought that service is more than that which is publicly visible. You all have opportunities to serve others. Many in our community serve in charity groups, church groups, volunteer organizations, service boards, and by being good neighbors. Serving is the best way to honor those who have served before you.
Mayor Dave Maughan