Many will remember The Honorable Jack Kemp as an All-Pro quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, or as the nine-term congressman from Western New York, or as the Secretary of HUD, or as a Vice-Presidential candidate, or as a successful entrepreneur. And those who think of him in these ways will be correct.
However, I will first remember him as one of the most unpretentious and giving men that I have ever known. "Jack," as he insisted everyone call him, was the truest of "Public Servants," giving more of himself to those around him than many will ever know.
I first met Jack during the off-season following my rookie year. Jack had received word that I was an American Politics Major at the University of Virginia with an interest in how Capitol Hill worked. Without hesitating, Jack invited me down to Washington D.C. and offered me an internship at his consulting company. I accepted his very generous offer and worked with him for three months during the off-season of my second year with the Bills.
From Day One Jack involved me in everything that was going on within his company. No matter how significant the task Jack made sure that I at least had a seat off to the side to listen and learn. Jack's attempts to include me in day-to-day operations were often to the detriment of himself. His approach to teaching meant he had to spend more time at work and more energy with me, but this simply did not matter to him. I believe that he never once thought to himself "how can I leverage my relationship with Brad into something that will profit me?" Instead, he thought "how can I make Brad a better person today?"
After my internship came to a conclusion Jack never stopped teaching me. He was always sure to send me an email with a new article he had written attached covering taxes, regulations, or the economy. He even made sure to send me a congratulatory email if the Bills had a big win.
Jack Kemp was a man that accomplished so many things and by the world's standards. But what I will always admire most about Jack was his willingness to share his time, knowledge and energy to help the people around him – including me. I am still flabbergasted thinking about it today. What a tremendous man.
I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to have spent a little time with Jack. I will sorely miss him.
Brad Butler interned at Kemp Partners with Jack Kemp during the winter and spring of 2008. He will represent the Buffalo Bills at Jack Kemp's private memorial service on Friday, May 8th. Butler is entering his fourth NFL season and has started 29 of 32 games at right guard over the last two seasons – including all 16 games in 2007. Butler played his college football at the University of Virginia where he started his last 31 games at right tackle. Butler, a Lynchburg, Va., native was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round (143rd selection) of the 2006 NFL Draft.*