Sunday, June 22, 2008
This Bubba is a Winner
I’ve known a few Bubba’s in my life and I’ve had a ton of respect for all of them.
Last week I was re-acquainted with a Bubba Lang, a funeral director extraordinaire who serves families on the gulf coast of Mississippi. There is Bubba Brasseaux from southern Louisiana who has been a co-worker and friend for many years and who I talk with several times every week if not every day. There is Bubba Newsom who grew up in Reynolds and made quite a name for himself in the business world in Georgia before he retired to Florida. There was Bubba Hinton, senior and junior, who could be called on at all hours of the night during the coldest part of the year to get a well pumping again to make sure you had water the next day. There was Bubba Adams who served my hometown as pharmacist for many years and would always go the extra mile to accommodate his customers in their time of need. There is Bubba Blalock who went to high school with my youngest son and was one of the best high school athletes I’ve ever seen. There is even a female Bubba Pennington who is my late father in law’s baby sister. I very affectionately call her “Aunt Bubba.”
I have to say all the Bubba’s I have known are very special folks.
There is, however, another Bubba (pictured above) that falls in my “Special Bubba” category. This Bubba’s last name is Sawyer and I spent a few minutes with him Saturday afternoon. I’ve known and watched this Bubba all his life. The longer I have known him and the more I have seen, the more impressed I have become.
During Bubba Sawyer’s senior year in high school, he began working part-time at the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department as a jailer and radio dispatcher. Soon after high school graduation he attended the Policy Academy and began what would become an 18 year career in law enforcement in Taylor County. For a salary that is far less than it should be, Bubba , like other public law enforcement servants, has put his life on the line as he sought to protect the people of Taylor County. On one occasion during a highly dangerous situation at a local bank, he was shot at three times from point blank range. It was only by the grace of God he was not hit and killed. Another time he missed a curve on a dirt road during a high speed chase and hit an oak tree head-on. Again, it was a miracle he came out of that alive. Another time, he averted a possible tragedy when he shot the tires out of vehicle driven by a criminal who was being chased at high speeds by other law enforcement personnel. And the Bubba Sawyer stories could go on and on.
Interestingly, Bubba Sawyer is unemployed at the moment.
When long time Probate Judge Ronnie Parker announced he would not seek re-election this year, Bubba had conversations with a few close confidants and decided he would run for Probate Judge. That sounds simple but to do that, Bubba had to resign his position as deputy with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department. To say he took a risk would be an understatement.
I have this saying that I have quoted and written about many times the past few years: “You will never be a winner until you get to the point that you are not afraid to lose.” Most people live each day to keep from losing which inevitably leads to mediocrity. And there are a few people who live to win and that always leads to excellence.
There is a huge difference by the way.
Bubba Sawyer has thrown mediocrity to the wind and is out there on a limb pursuing what’s in his heart. The truth is he has been out there on a limb many times during the last 18 years for the people of Taylor County. Many times most were in their beds sleeping and never even knew it, but trust me, he was out there.
I asked him why he wanted to be the Taylor County Probate Judge. As one would expect from Bubba, his answer was honest and simple. "I want to better my family and I want to continue to serve the people of Taylor County." And then he said something else I continued to think about after I left him and as I drove down the road. He said, “I have been in law enforcement for the past 18 years and nobody can hold anything over my head. I have acted with integrity and have been completely honest in all my dealings. I have nothing to hide.”
In my humble view, the people of Taylor County would do themselves very well in a few weeks when they go to the polls if they allow this husband, father and long time public servant to continue to serve them in this new role.
But whether that happens or not, there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain.
This Bubba is a winner.