Yesterday I received this email from one of George’s friends on my recent Outtakes and on Touart’s service to the county:
In opening, I would like to thank you for your article. I am writing you on a personal note so that you know I made and will make every effort to ensure George gets to see your article. As you stated, George is very sick and fighting hard. In fact, with the same energy he had for politics. I pray that he will get better so that he may enjoy a few more fishing and hunting trips. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves nature, fishing and hunting a lot. Might explain why he worked hard on the boat ramps and supported our Marine Resource office as much as he did.
I read your “Out Take” to George this evening. He smiled and enjoyed the article. I can tell you that many times George told me of your conversations and told me that he assured you that if you would just call him he would tell you the truth. I believed he did and kept his word to you. While sometimes, he vehemently disagreed with some of your articles, he did respect you and enjoyed your friendship over the last few months where he felt that you were giving him an opportunity to present his position. It truly made him feel good that you would call him or he could call you on something. He told me so.
George Touart loved his job more than any person that ever held any position. I have never known a single person that thrived and lived every day to go to work. His contacts was extensive. No matter what the issue or what you needed, George could pick up his cell phone and solve it in minutes. In fact, he had phones in the past that he ran out of contact space, thank the lord for Androids! Politics was his stadium and George was playing the Super Bowl every day of his life. If you did not believe that, just look back to last year when he got his job back. I bet you would have bet the entire paper he could not accomplish that and he did. Look at the Jail, I bet you thought 100 times he would not get that accomplished, but he did.
George could accomplish anything and I firmly believe that we will be realizing his accomplishments for years to come. One example that excites me is the Helicopter field. I strongly feel that the potential of those acres and close proximity of I-10 will be as big as Navy Federal. It has infrastructure and lots of land, it will be huge! For George, just don’t let anyone waste that opportunity. He last told me that he wanted to ensure a minimum acreage so that only larger developments with larger potential will be there.
Navy Federal, when they committed to the Commission and Escambia County, George got here he ensured that the project happened. Now 5000+ people are working and paying taxes here soon to be 10,000 employees. What is sad, is all the unfinished business he wanted to accomplish. He had lots of ideas to improve the lives of our community, increase job opportunities and our tax base. I assure you, that losing George will be all of our loss and I know that.
Rick, I have said this once, I have said it 1000 times. Decision Makers are always criticized. Unfortunately, George got things done and in the same thread not everyone can be pleased.
Thank you for your fair, honest and heart felt tribute. When he feels better I will be sure to read it to him again.