A picture hangs over our dining room table. It’s been there a long time, a gift I gave my husband Gary on our first anniversary 31 years ago.
It’s winter in that painting, snowy and cold. (We know snowy and cold after last winter, don’t we?)
Something in that painting always touches my heart. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s the one where George Washington is kneeling beside his horse praying, titled “Prayer at Valley Forge.”
It reminds me that some things really are worth sacrificing for. I learned that from my World War II veteran Dad, and I see it daily in my husband, Gary Glenn.
I appreciate you allowing me to tell you a little about Gary. I'm writing because Gary is running for the state House of Representatives seat that represents Midland and Bay counties.
Gary joined the U.S. Army Reserves back in 1990 during the first Gulf War build-up. We’d just had our second son in September, and Gary was running for county commissioner that November.
But he enlisted and left for basic training in mid-October, two weeks before the election! It was funny. The newspaper reported that I called him at 4:00 am, the morning after the election to let him know he’d won. And then, the paper said, “he had to go make his bed.”
He was supposed to have a break in training to come home for Christmas, and I still remember his phone call, telling me that the Christmas break was canceled because the war was about to start.
With the help of some friends, I was able to fly to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, through an ice storm with our two little boys and spend Christmas with Gary in a very small hotel room just off base.
Gary had been selected as platoon leader, and every day, even during Christmas week when training had been suspended, he kept “doing his duty,” helping the other guys each day whose families weren’t there, until the drill sergeant finally had to run him out of the barracks to come spend time with us. We had a tiny little tree, just the four of us, and Gary often says that was his favorite Christmas ever.
The boys and I stayed long enough to watch Gary be named “Honor Graduate” and take the oath to protect our Constitution and our country.
That was the second time Gary took that kind of oath. Yes, there was an earlier time long before I knew him. Gary was an Eagle Scout at the ripe old age of 13! When he took the Scout Oath, he’d also promised “to do (his) best to do (his) duty to God and (his) country.”
Gary sets an example our boys want to follow. All four of our sons became Eagle Scouts as well. Our third son even set the goal to earn his Eagle at an even younger age than Gary did. And when he did it—at 13 years and six months and two weeks—Gary was proud to be the first to congratulate him!
I’m proud of him, and of my husband. I really hope you’ll join me in supporting and voting for Gary! He’s the only veteran running for that position.
Gary and I met my senior year in high school. He even took me to my senior prom. He was five years older, and while we were dating, he was running a phone bank to help elect a local Republican candidate, so I knew from the beginning what I was signing up for when I married this great guy.
He really is amazing, never one to just sit around talking about important things that need to be done.
He’s a leader, a man of action, and I’ll share another personal story with you that illustrates my point.
For our 31st anniversary this past March, Gary planned a night away from the house, dog, and teenagers and reserved us a room at a hotel near our home in Midland, using a free night that was expiring soon. But I got sick, so we had to delay our little getaway. When we rescheduled a couple weeks later, I waited in the car while Gary went to check us in. But while he was getting checked in, chaos erupted! What I’m sharing is what I heard from Gary and the hotel staff after it all happened...
The hotel maintenance guy came running into the lobby yelling for the desk clerk to bring the master key and run to the pool, where he’d seen a boy through the big window lying motionless on the bottom of the pool, drowning.
The young lady checking Gary in grabbed the key and went running to the pool, and Gary ran after her.
Gary told me later that as he was running, he was rehearsing in his mind the CPR training he’d learned first in Boy Scouts, and again during basic training, and resolved to himself in advance that he was ready....
After they ran into the pool and alerted they boy’s family, his mother and grandfather pulled him from the bottom, unconscious. But then Gary said the family stood there, no doubt in shock!
Gary didn’t wait. He acted. He immediately went to the boy—eyes wide open, he said, but unconscious, water pouring from his mouth. Gary said he did several Heimlich procedures, water gushing from the boy’s mouth each time, then laid him down to begin performing CPR.
But just as he was about to begin, the boy’s mother grabbed him to her chest and yelled at him to “throw up more water!” Gary said the boy did, one more time, then regained consciousness and began crying hysterically. We were so thankful—he was alive and doing fine when the ambulance came to take him to the hospital. We found out later he hadn’t suffered any brain damage.
I am so thankful Gary was there, willing and able to help. Since Gary and I don’t believe in accidents, we know Gary was there at that precise place at that precise time for a purpose, and only because I’d gotten sick the night of our anniversary.
Afterward, I talked to the young lady who’d been checking us in, and the staff the next morning when we were checking out had heard the story from her and were saying how wonderful Gary was.
I married my hero!
There are other heroes whose pictures hang in our home, pictures of both our fathers in uniform.
My dad was in the Navy in World War II. Gary’s dad served in the Marines and was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. The last year Gary’s dad was alive, we took him – along with Gary’s mom – back to Hawaii the first week of December.
We stood in the same street Gary’s dad remembered standing at age 19 shooting at Japanese airplanes. His unit earned a presidential citation for shooting one plane down with just rifle fire.
Gary and his dad went out on the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial the morning of December 7th, and we visited the grave of his dad’s best friend, who was killed that morning on the U.S.S. Oklahoma at age 17.
Gary often says it was his father who taught him to love his country, stand up for what he believes, and fight for what he loves.
Gary calls it an overdeveloped sense of duty. But I’m grateful he has it. He simply can’t stand by and watch what’s happening to our country without at least trying to make a difference.
He’s got a track record of being a leader, of making a difference, and he believes he can do it again. I know he can—I’ve seen it first hand.
Gary not only has the right mindset, but also the right skill set to represent us effectively in Lansing.
First, Gary has ALWAYS been very open and honest in sharing what he believes. He believes you and I as voters have a right to know where candidates who want our vote stand on the important issues.
That’s why Gary challenged his opponent Karl Ieuter to weekly debates before the August 5th election. You’ve probably heard that Karl has refused to accept that challenge... I understand. Gary has a lifetime of knowledge, leadership, and experience making a difference and fighting for our conservative principles on a wide array of issues. He knows what he’s talking about, and I wouldn’t want to debate him either!
He was executive director of a statewide agricultural trade association, dealing with farm and ranch, environmental, and natural resource issues.
He was a two-term county commissioner who stood up for private property rights, lower taxes, and less spending, and he also authored the first Medical Savings Account health care plan for county employees anywhere in the nation. He was invited to testify before Congress on that one, where they called him a “pioneer” in free market-based healthcare reform.
We’ve owned a restaurant since 2006, so we know what it’s like to be at the mercy of the economy, having to make payments when there’s no money coming in. But we rode it out and are still standing. That’s why Gary’s first priority as state representative will be to do everything possible to make Michigan more competitive for new plant sites and jobs.
We’re like a lot of Michigan families. Our oldest son and our first two granddaughters live in West Virginia. And our second son and our newest granddaughter moved just a few weeks ago to California for a new job. So we miss our cute granddaughters.
Gary’s commitment to being a leader in Lansing for policies that will bring jobs back to Michigan is personal, for his family and everyone else’s, including yours.
Gary’s also committed to strong families. He is the one of two co-authors of Michigan’s Marriage Protection Amendment that put in our state constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. (I’m really happy he picked me!!)
Gary’s committed to protecting our schools, which are part of the special quality of life we have here in Bay and Midland counties.
Our oldest son was on the debate team at Midland High School, and our second son played football two years at Bay City Western. Our third son got a degree from Delta College. And our youngest son just finished his sophomore year at Calvary Baptist Academy, where he played point guard on their state championship basketball team.
Gary played football in high school and one year in college. He was captain of the high school track team. He and I both ran hurdles, and Gary was a volunteer hurdles coach for kids on Midland’s Fleet Feet Track Club, including our daughter.
He’s been a man of strong Christian faith from an early age. In high school, he was captain of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and won the FCA “Athlete of the Year” trophy.
He leads our family by example, and he loves spending time with our children. He’s always made it a priority to spend one-on-one time with our children, creating special memories.
He and our oldest son took a trip last August to see the Grand Canyon and some other national parks out west.
He drove our two football fan sons to the NFL Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, a few years ago, and took our youngest son to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 to watch my alma mater, Boise State. At the time, our son said that was “the best day of his life.”
He took our daughter to Washington, D.C., for President Reagan’s funeral procession when she was nine years old, but he also took her to Chicago to the American Girl Doll headquarters and to David Archuleta and Carrie Underwood concerts.
He taught our children to believe in God, to play and work hard, to set goals and stay committed to achieving them, and to be honest and take responsibility for their actions. And they’ve never been in doubt that their Dad loves them.
Even though campaigning puts a crimp in his style, Gary likes to take a hatchet and hacksaw, and more recently a chainsaw, and spend Saturdays cleaning out our woods.
And ever since we bought a wood-burning stove to heat the basement we could never keep warm enough for the kids before, he’s spent the late summer and fall chopping wood, and he stays up late stoking the fire to make sure it’s warm when everyone gets up in the morning.
We both like to shoot. A couple years ago, when it was my turn to plan our anniversary, we went to the pistol range at Duncan’s Outdoor in Bay City. You can surely count on Gary to support our right to defend ourselves and our families.
He’s loved playing basketball with our boys over the years, and even at age 56, he still plays ball twice a week over lunch at the Midland Community Center with a group of guys from Dow. (He says he still has all the same moves he had when he was younger...in his head.)
Over the last several months in particular, six days a week, he’s stayed in shape by walking miles and miles every day knocking on people’s doors to personally ask for their vote – over 5,000 doors so far, so maybe he came to your door.
And he’s stayed true to the task day after day, even when every step included the pain of blisters. No one will work harder, or go the extra mile more than Gary, to try to make a difference, change things for the better, and help turn our country around.
He’s deeply aware that his father was willing to die if necessary to make sure Gary grew up in a free country, and Gary feels the same duty to do everything he humanly can to make sure our children and grandchildren inherit the kind of America we did from our parents and those who came before them.
I really could write a book about Gary (it would take maybe a couple of volumes to tell you about all he’s done to serve his family and community). I hope you have found something I’ve shared worth your time.
If I could ask a favor—I need your help.
Would you please vote for Gary?
The election will take place August 5th. I hope you’ll join me in voting for someone that will stand by us, work hard for us, and do his best today, tomorrow and always—it’s just who he is.
Thanks for taking time to read my letter.
P.S. Gary is the kind of man we’ll all be proud to have representing us in Lansing. Please vote for my favorite guy, Gary Glenn. Absentee ballots are out now, or you can vote in person on August 5th!
P.P.S. If you have questions, you can email me at Annette@GaryGlenn.us or call 989-837-1390. We’re listed in the phone book too.
If you’d like a yard sign or would like to volunteer to help Gary’s campaign between now and August 5th, call our office at 989-326-4878.