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Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie offers farewell remarks

first_imgLieutenant Governor Brian Dubie offered his farewell remarks in the Vermont State Senate Chamber this afternoon. Dubie served eight years as the state’s second in command.Good AfternoonThank you for the opportunity to serve you as your Lieutenant Governor for the last eight years.It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to serve our state in elected office.I would like to recognize a few special people who are here this afternoon.My wife, Penny and my daughters, Emily and Casey ‘ my brother, Gen. Mike Dubie — Gen. Jon Farnham, who has just returned from a year of service in Afghanistan, and Martha Hanson, my Chief of Staff and Only Staff.And a special salute to Lieutenant Governor-elect Phil Scott. Congratulations, Phil.# # #Some of you have served for many years; others will start your service here in Montpelier today. As I conclude my service as your Lieutenant Governor, I would like to recognize the service of some special Vermonters.We members of the American Legion have a saying: ‘many gave some, some gave all’. The mother of a fallen service member is given the title of ‘Gold Star Mother’A Gold Star Mother named Marion Gray is with us today. Marion and Steve lost their son, Army Sgt. Jamie Gray, in Iraq, on June 07, 2004. He was 29 years old.Marion has chosen to serve others.In May 2006, Vermont’s Gold Star families chartered a bus together to go to the National Day of Remembrance in Washington DC.Army Spc. Chris Merchant died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on March 1, 2006. His parents, Gary and Janet, wrote at the time, ‘This weekend we find ourselves on a bus with many people just like us. They know and feel the same things as we do. We see that it is okay to cry, to laugh, to joke, to live.’From that bus ride the Vermont Fallen Families was born, with Marion Gray as its binding force.Last November 11, Vermont dedicated a new Vermont Global War on Terror Memorial at the Veterans Cemetery in Randolph, dedicated to all the state’s military who have served in war since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.The Grays, the Merchants, Ray DeGiovine, and all the other Gold Star families made the memorial at the Vermont State Cemetery a reality. Ray’s 25-year-old son, Marine Corporal Christopher DeGiovine, was killed in Anbar province in 2007. We must never forget these brave Vermonters and their sacrifice. Marion, thank you for your service. Thank you to all of Vermont’s Fallen Families.Another Gold Star Mother that I would like to recognize is Vicky Strong.Nate and Vicky Strong lost their son, Marine Sgt. Jesse Strong, in Iraq on January 26, 2005. He was 24. Jesse was loved by his community, and by his fellow students at Liberty University. Vicky has chosen to serve her state in a new way. She will serve alongside you here in Montpelier, as a member of the House from Albany, Vermont. She has much to offer. Vicky, we wish you the best of luck as you open a new chapter of service here in Montpelier.# # #On Monday, Sept. 19, 2005 Army Lieutenant Mark Dooley was killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Mark was 27 years old.Mark’s mom, Marion said, “Mark had a unique sense of dedication, care and responsibility toward his family, friends, his military companions and his country. I remember the sensitivity in which he gave me a sealed envelope prior to his deployment to Iraq and his request that I promise not to open it unless he did not return. As promised, this document was only opened after his death and I am confident that sharing it will allow everyone to have the insight into the remarkable person who was my son.”In that letter, Mark wrote, “Mom, I have no delusions that reading or even hearing this letter read can fill my absence. Please forgive me for not being able to be there; but also remember that my leaving was in the service of something that we loved, and that most people can’t comprehend its scope. Cherish in your heart that it wasn’t done for any abstract reason like a flag or a foreign government’s success, but our sacred honor.”Friend and fellow Wilmington police officer Greg Murano now organizes an annual 5K race in Wilmington. A portion of this year’s proceeds was donated to help complete the Vermont Global War on Terror Memorial. His service has life and meaning.Kyle Gilbert was a soldier from Brattleboro. Sadly, Kyle was killed in Iraq on August 6, 2003. He was 20 years old. His mother Regina wrote me a letter that I would like to share with you today.She wrote: ‘I want you to hear this, my dream, I really never thought I would have a dream but now I do, I will one day travel to the road my son was on, on 6 Aug 2006, and touch and feel the ground he where he took his last breath, feel his pain and pray for him on that night. When Iraq is free, I will prevail and make my dream come true, please be there with me’.After Kyle’s death, Regina’s husband Herbert chose to join the Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. I received a text message from Regina when Herbert landed in the United States after his year in Afghanistan. Please join me in thanking Herbert for his service and Regina for her dream.We all need a dream to focus our service. What is your dream?# # #I would also like to recognize another special mother. She lived in Bennington. Her name was Sally Goodrich.Sally and Don Goodrich lost their son, Peter, on September 11, 2001. Peter was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York City.Shortly after Peter’s death, Sally learned she had ovarian cancer.Reflecting on her situation then Sally said, ‘Everything was destroyed, my life, my faith, my ability to live. I had nothing left.’‘Then in August 2004, a friend of Peter’s who served as a Marine major in Afghanistan sent an e-mail asking the Goodrich family to collect supplies for the children of a village in dire need of assistance.‘That was the beginning,’‘ Sally said then. ‘I call it the moment of grace. I knew Peter would have responded to that e-mail. I knew I had to, in his name. For the first time, I felt Peter’s spirit back in my life.’‘Peter’s father Donald said, ‘Peter was always searching for a better understanding of the human condition, suddenly it shone upon us, that here is a path that Peter would be on. Because he would be on that path, we were going to take it.’‘To honor his memory, the Sally and Donald created the Peter M. Goodrich Foundation, and conducted fund-raising to build and support three schools and an orphanage in Afghanistan.Don says, ‘Sally saw a need or saw something that would be fun, and that big old Irish smile would come out and things would happen.’‘Sally says of her work in Afghanistan, ‘I wouldn’t say it was a journey of faith, but I would say it was a journey that restored my faith, and it also changed my faith. I think about my faith, and I think about God in more open ways than I did before. I don’t know how to explain it except to say that my faith is now about action to help people. Helping these children with education, which is the future of Afghanistan, gave us our lives back. I’m so lucky to have found that. I don’t know how to thank them.’‘ Sally passed away on December 19, 2010.Thank you, Sally.We face challenges in our state. You have run for office to serve. The lives of these special Vermonters serve as inspiration to all of us. Each had a dream, like each of you. Each took a first step, like each of you. Each faced setbacks, as you will, and each served in a special way. Each of you can and will serve in a special way.These Vermonters made a difference. So will you.The Vermont State Senate lost its guiding beacon last August. David Gibson served as Secretary of the Senate from 2000 till the time of his death.When I was first elected lieutenant governor, the presiding officer over the Vermont Senate, I must admit I had never been in this Senate chamber.I met David, and David explained Mason Rules, rules of the Vermont Senate, the unwritten rules, and the traditions of the Vermont Senate.It has been my privilege for the last eight years to learn the traditions of the Vermont Senate. They were written on the heart of David Gibson.For the past half-century, Ernest ‘ David’s father; Robert ‘ David’s brother; and David wrote those rules and kept them alive.David really only had one rule. It ruled his entire life and was the basis for all the rules of the Senate: Do unto others as you have them do unto you.We serve in a legislature where strongly held beliefs carried by strong-minded people are bound to clash.David Gibson was a beacon of kindness, grace and integrity.He made us all better people than we would have been without his friendship. And we all loved him for this.David, we will miss you.May God bless you.I know that David would approve of your choice to succeed him, former state senator John Bloomer. John, I know you will wear the mantle well. Congratulations, and best wishes to you.I would also like to recognize and thank those others who serve year in year out to keep this chamber working well.Assistant Senate Secretary Steve Marshall.Journal Clerk Vanessa Davison.Calendar Clerk Priscilla Alexander.Office Assistant Roxy QueroCornelius Reed, Theresa Randall, and our Doorkeepers and pages.Thank you all for your service to our state.Serving in elected office is a unique way to serve one’s fellow citizens.But there are many ways to serve. I look forward to assisting Vermont by continuing my work with our friends in Quebec. Next time you are in Quebec City, look in the phonebook; I have a lot of cousins up there.As I reflect on my service, many have asked me about my post-election thoughts.Here is my perspective. I have run for office and lost before.As a matter of fact, one man I lost to will soon be Vermont’s new Secretary of Human Services. In November 2000, I lost to a fine gentleman named Doug Racine.A few months later, in April 2001, I was on a long run on Miami Beach, training for an upcoming marathon, on a layover with my airline job. I must admit, I was thinking about the election when a frantic boy ran up to me, asking for my help.I followed this young person to the water’s edge — looked out ‘ and saw three heads in the water a couple of hundreds yards out. Immediately, I headed out into the surf. As I swam out, I thought of the advice of my loving wife Penny — who happens to have been a lifeguard. ‘Never go in the water without a floatation device’– and I am thinking, ‘What do I do now honey? Oh well,’ I think, as I keep swimming.Soon, I had reached the first person in the water. It was a school-aged girl, and the look in her eyes confirmed that she was in trouble. Just like my wife predicted, she grabbed me frantically with her arms and legs around my neck. Fortunately, I was able to get her to shore.Then I headed back into the water, to assist another rescuer who had followed me out to bring the next young girl in.The short version of this story is my girl made it, and the second girl did not. I was on that beach because I had lost an election.The way I see it is, there is another person, on another beach for each one of us. Our job is look for the person and do our best in that moment.Marion, Vicky, Regina and Sally by their service remind us that there are many ways to serve. Thank you all for your service. I wish you the best of luck. God Bless you all.# # #last_img

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