Leadership is . . . service.
God, family, country. Brent Taylor pledged loyalty to each. On Saturday, November 3, 2018 the father of seven, who left his family and his post as mayor of North Ogden to serve his fourth tour in Afghanistan, died as the result of an apparent “insider attack.”
Taylor’s action — and life altering consequences — renews my vision of service even as it breaks my heart. As I reflect his the love, duty, and heroism, I remember what Jesus said:
One need not die to serve, but one must sacrifice to serve.
Taylor sacrificed ten years of “I want to’s” for his country’s “Will you?” The Salt Lake Tribune reported, “Before his death, Taylor served more than a decade in the U.S. Army National Guard, including seven years on active duty. He had served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, not including this most recent tour.”
When our country asked, “Will you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .” he said, “Yes.”
Taylor’s service to our country meant missing his 15th wedding anniversary as well as being present for the first steps of his youngest daughter. It meant leaving his post as mayor and putting himself in harm’s way.
We recognize these are sacrifices soldiers make every day, but seeing them up close and feeling the cost of that service brings the meaning of the word into sharper focus.
Taylor’s service did not end with putting on the uniform. The uniform simply gave him the opportunity to extend service in the way he trained soldiers, and helped the citizens of the country to which he was giving aid as a soldier. Reporter Paighten Hakins writes,
During a deployment to Iraq in 2007, Brent and Jennie Taylor led an effort called “Feed Uncle SAM,” which saw Jennie gather about $75,000 in care packages, toys, educational materials and humanitarian supplies in Utah. Then Taylor led 14 other Utah soldiers to the rural Iraqi villages of Qudeela and Ankawa to distribute the donations.
Today, a family mourns, a city mourns, a country mourns. Yet out of that mourning rises the brilliant radiance of one man’s service. For leadership is service.
What does it mean for you to be a servant leader today?
One way is to vote. Today, we who are Americans have the privilege and responsibility to participate in our electoral process. In Brent Taylor’s last Facebook (October 28), he wrote,
“As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”
Serve your country today. Vote.
“Before his death, Taylor served more than a decade . . .” from “Utahns mourn loss of 'genuine hero’: North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor killed in Afghanistan in apparent insider attack”, by Paighten Harkins. November 4, 2018. www.sltrib.com. Accessed November 6, 2018
“During a deployment to Iraq in 2007 . . .” in “Utahns mourn . . .” by Paighten Harkins. November 4, 2018. www.sltrib.com. Accessed November 6, 2018