Utah Town Honors Its Mayor, A National Guardsman, Who Was Killed In Kabul
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We turn now to North Ogden, Utah, where residents are grieving their mayor. Brent Taylor was elected five years ago. He was also a member of the Utah National Guard, and recently, he had taken a temporary step away from his duties as mayor for a deployment to Afghanistan. Taylor was killed on Saturday in Kabul in what authorities are calling an insider attack. The last thing Brent Taylor posted to Facebook was a message about being inspired by the millions of Afghan men and women who are risking their lives to go to the polls and vote last month. The man filling in as mayor while Taylor served in Afghanistan is Brent Chugg. He joins us now on the line from Utah. Thank you so much for being with us, and our condolences for your loss. I'm so sorry.
BRENT CHUGG: Thank you for your expression of sympathy. I appreciate that.
MARTIN: Based on what I have read about Brent Taylor in the last couple of days, it's clear he was someone who was just hardwired to serve other people. But you can do that in a lot of different ways. Can you talk about what inspired him to volunteer for four tours of duty?
CHUGG: He had a great sense of patriotism that he felt he needed to give back to America. He loved your country. He dedicated a good share of his life to the Army - just felt like he needed to help people. And that's the reason he went back to Afghanistan. He felt like those people needed help and that was his mission in life.
MARTIN: What kind of mayor was he?
CHUGG: He was an outstanding mayor. He was very progressive. He moved this town forward in a very positive way.
MARTIN: I read that even though he was a Republican, he was someone who was admired by Democrats, too. He wasn't a partisan kind of guy.
CHUGG: No, he wasn't a politician. I call him a statesman. He was kind to everyone. You felt good in his presence. He always had a smile on his face. He remembered your name - very personable.
MARTIN: I want to read a bit from his last Facebook post that's pretty poignant today on Election Day here in the U.S. As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, he writes, 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. What else do you want people to know about Brent Taylor?
CHUGG: First and foremost, he loved his wife and family. He was a great family man. Even though he's a very busy man, had a very busy schedule, he made sure he had time for his family. He always had time for the citizens of North Ogden. He'd be out in the middle of night with the maintenance crews when there were problems in the city. He was very much devoted to the employees and showed love and respect to them and to the people of North Ogden as well.
MARTIN: What will you miss about him?
CHUGG: I'll miss his friendship. He and I have known each other for about five or six years, and we've worked on projects together, had good times. He was truly just a great friend, somebody that you loved and respected, someone that you could trust. And it was always fun to be in his presence, and he made you feel welcome wherever you were.
MARTIN: Brent Chugg - he is serving as interim mayor of North Ogden, Utah. We've been talking about Brent Taylor, elected five years ago to serve as mayor of that town. He was killed during a deployment in Afghanistan over the weekend. Mr. Chugg, thank you so much for your time this morning and for helping us remember your friend and mayor.
CHUGG: You're so welcome. He's a great man, and thank you for giving us that opportunity. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.