One of the positive aspects about living in an area with consistently rapid growth is that we have no shortage of new and shiny infrastructure and buildings. One of the negative aspects of it is just that: everything old is often shuttered in favor of the new and shiny. But one local icon is shifting his focus away from typical civil services and is using his expertise to help preserve a piece of history.
After a fire ravaged the First Baptist Church in downtown Phoenix, a structure built in 1929, it would have been easy to simply tear it down and build something new and shiny. Enter Arizona’s angel Terry Goddard.
The former Phoenix Mayor, Arizona Attorney General, and fighter against dark money had apparently been fighting to preserve this building since all the way back in 1992 when it was set to be demolished. Understanding that perhaps simply preserving a building for the sake of posterity isn’t enough, he is now transforming it into an event venue complete with a restaurant and a speakeasy.
And just like that, he somehow manages to further his legacy, and manages to do so in a way that is not just an honor to our history, but one that exemplifies both flexibility and ingenuity. To create something new and memorable out of the decaying remnants of something else entirely is special. To have such an undying dedication to one’s home when he easily could ride out into the sunset and enjoy retirement underscores his commitment to building positivity.
Is this the last salvo of an incredible career? If he did hang it up after this creation, no one could blame him. His career was already exemplary before that; as the youngest mayor in the city’s history, he was groundbreaking. He had a very positive and noble stint as the top attorney in the state. And his fight against dark money was both extremely necessary and an example of his grit and determination, to keep after it after a few let-downs. Few people would keep at it when they have nothing material to personally gain from it.
Politics has long been populated by people looking to further their own ambitions, so much so that the word itself has become a dirty word amongst many. But every once in a while, a person rises above the sea of egos and consistently encompasses what it means to be a public servant. We are truly blessed to have someone like Terry Goddard in our state, someone who views public service not just as a means to an end, but the end itself.
It is our hope that for every wedding that is officiated at this new venue, that a moment is spent to thank the person responsible for its new life, the person who has made a lion’s footprint on our state.