Anyone who has ever served in a position with a political party understands that such positions are hardly glamorous. Purely volunteer. At any given time your friends and enemies criticize you. Everything that goes wrong is your fault, and anything that goes right was the result of someone else's efforts. But I knew all that when I ran for the position of Chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party in January of this year.
That's why I know it's important to cherish those truly special moments that make it all worthwhile. I experienced just such a moment last Friday at our Founders' Day event in Omaha. At that event we had the opportunity to recognize many outstanding volunteers and leaders in the Nebraska Republican Party. While Gov. Mitt Romney's speech was fantastic, the highlight of the evening for me was awarding the Nebraska GOP Hall of Fame awards to two individuals who have had a significant impact on me, on the Nebraska Republican Party, and on the State of Nebraska.
The first Hall of Fame award went to former Gov. Kay Orr. Gov. Orr served our state as State Treasurer and Governor--becoming the first Republican woman elected governor in the United States. She is a tremendously talented woman who served our great state with class and a bedrock understanding of the principles upon which this country was founded. In recent years she has spent her time on things more important than politics--her family. Her speech at Founders' Day literally brought a tear to my eye as she spoke from her heart about our country and her faith. She still cares very deeply about our state and our country. I've been blessed with the opportunity to know Gov. Orr and her wonderful husband Bill, both of whom have shared their wisdom with me from time to time.
The other recipient was Omaha City Councilman Chuck Sigerson. Chuck gave me the opportunity to serve as legal counsel to the NEGOP when he was state chair, and for that I'm forever grateful. Chuck was a great state NEGOP chair, perhaps the best in modern times. He singlehandedly pinned then-Gov. Ben Nelson down to sign the pledge to not run for the Senate. When Nelson tried to reneg on his commitment, Sigerson nailed him, Chuck Hagel was elected, and the rest is history. Chuck recently suffered a heart attack and stroke and, thanks be to God, was released from the rehabilitation hospital on the night of Founders' Day, but he was unable to attend. Instead, he sent his son Andrew to accept the award on his behalf. Andrew and I go way back, and it was great seeing him and watching him in action before the packed crowd at the Doubletree Hotel in Omaha. Like Governor Orr, Andrew spoke from the heart and candidly shared his faith with those present.
Kay Orr and Chuck Sigerson--two great Nebraskans.