'My wife and I cried like a baby:' Midlands officials mourn the loss of John McCain
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As the nation mourns the loss of Senator John McCain, people in the Midlands wanted to share their respect for Senator McCain's service.
"To have lost such a patriot to our country I just feel as if it's a loss for the country. It's a loss for everyone who knew him." Terry T Budget, U.S. Army Veteran said. "My sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to his family because they're the ones who are feeling it the most but the greatest loss is really to the country because we lost a true patriot today."
McCain started fighting for our country long before entering the halls of Congress. McCain served in the Vietnam war, he survived being shot down and captured as a prisoner of war for nearly six years.
Blair Wilke served in the Navy alongside McCain when he was the commanding officer of the VA-174 in Jacksonville, Florida.
"There's been a couple of people that have inspired me through the years, one was my dad and the other was, of course, John McCain, because of his experiences as a POW," Wilke said. "People can say what you want but I've seen the pain in his eyes when he would shake my hand, and his arms were in so much pain because of the torture and the scares from the years of being beaten and there were the emotional scars that I couldn't see but I could see it in him."
McCain later made his transition into politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1986.
If you remember back in 2008 as McCain made his presidential bid, he made a stop in South Carolina. Trey Walker, Chief of Staff for Governor McMaster who helped with both of McCain's campaigns.
"I can tell you that from my perspective as someone who did not serve our country in the armed forces, Senator McCain showed by demonstration as by his actions. A willingness to serve a cause greater than oneself." Walker said.
In the presidential race, McCain won South Carolina in 2008 but ultimately lost the election to Barack Obama.
"He was falling in the polls but it was more important for him to make sure that America won the surge and won the war in Iraq than it was for him to win a political campaign," Walker said. "Never seen anything like that in American politics. Don't know if I'll ever see it again, but when you have an opportunity to work with somebody like that it is absolutely inspiring."
Walker said when he and his wife heard the news, "My wife and I cried like a baby, my kids have only known a world with John McCain in it."
Terry Budget says to celebrate him as he lived, and his drive and dedication to making this world a better place.
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