He Loved His Island Life…
Today I write a special blog entry for a friend of mine who passed away yesterday, January 3, 2015. He inspired millions, made a difference in the world, lived to be 95, was a regular guy and he truly loved his island life. His name: Edward W. Brooke, the former United States Senator from the state of Massachusetts.
I met Senator Brooke in 2008 through my good friend, MJ Flatley, a fellow St. Maarten resident. I remember being invited to his home for this very first introduction and I remember being very nervous to meet him. The Senator was on St. Maarten and we were all invited…. for pizza. This became a tradition every time the Senator was on the island.
In preparation for meeting the Senator, I borrowed a copy of his autobiography entitled, Bridging the Divide, from MJ. I opened the book to begin reading only to find it was autographed and inscribed to MJ, by the Senator himself! Now I was really nervous.
I remember driving up the Senator’s long winding driveway on the French side of St. Martin for the very first time, being welcomed by his most wonderful wife, Anne (Fleming) and meeting the Senator. Immediately, he said, “call me Edward” – I always called him Senator. He earned that level of true respect.
Each time I had the opportunity to visit the Senator, we always talked politics. Privately we joked, as we crafted a plan for him to come out of retirement to teach the politicians in Washington, DC what it meant to govern, to teach those governing today what it really meant to take care of the people’s business. We joked he should run for the Presidency so he could set the country on the right course. Senator Brooke would have been a great President of the United States of America.
I asked him about Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both former US Presidents. He told me about them and life in Washington, DC. These conversations always happened over pizza!
I also learned the Senator was a dog lover. He told me about his Retrievers over the years and I told him about my beloved Golden Retrievers, Simon and Max. We talked about my charitable organization, The Team Goldendog Foundation. We discussed our hopes to help homeless animals on St. Maarten and our dream to build an animal shelter called, Camp Goldendog. The Senator and his wife Ann were always both quiet supporters of the Team Goldendog Foundation. They contributed generously and they offered their beach home, Seabrooke, as the official crew residence year after year, when Team Goldendog was competing in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to raise awareness and funds for the island’s homeless animals. The Senator and his wife did this requesting no public recognition.
Several years ago, I was being interviewed by the local St. Maarten newspaper in my capacity as a radio personality. The question – “If you were to invite three famous people (dead or alive) to dinner, who would they be and why?” My first guest, Senator Brooke for many of the reasons (and stories) I have shared in this edition of my blog.
Senator, you helped change the world and at age 95 you never stopped making a difference. To your family and friends around the world I send my sincerest condolences and I remind them that after the sorrow passes, you will continue to live on in their hearts forever. You will always live on in mine.
Finally, my dear friend Edward, let me simply say, job well done!
Rest in Peace.