“No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.”
– Emma Goldman
Today the world lost one heck of an Attorney and I lost one incredible mentor. I can still remember the day I got summoned to Gerry’s office. I was scared and held my breath as I pushed the elevator button. Only to be greeted with “you like to ask a lot of questions” and a smile. Gerry was glad that I asked questions and dared to do more than what my job duties said. My long hours hadn’t gone unnoticed and my efforts were being complimented. To him I was no longer AmadaJean a temporary case assistant, I had become AJ the go to girl. If I couldn’t get it done or fixed then well no other assistant could. My questions led to more work and one on ones. The seasoned attorney took me under his wing and shared his passion with me.
Gerry shaped my career and gave me the tools I needed to change the world around me. I can still hear his voice say “Well if they don’t get in the buffet line, they are going to walk away hungry. Because they are only serving the people who rsvp’d. No rsvp, then no plate for them.” I would give anything to hear the “buffet line” analogy one more time and to be sitting across the table from him. Gerry’s mind never turned off, he was one step ahead of the game, and he expected you to put in everything you had.
I am a better paralegal and lobbyist because of Gerry. He taught me to have passion and to love what I was doing. No task is to small or mundane when livelihoods are at stake. It only takes one person to care and when that happens others will follow suit. When I look back on my career working at Gerry’s side will be a highlight and I will always cherish my days on the GCCF crew. In those days I gained one of my greatest cheerleaders and one hell of a mentor.
None of us know when our last day is going to be. None of us know how important someone is until there gone. If only I had a few more moments to pick his brain and one more chance to say “Thank you.” Gerry dared to test the status quo, he dared to beg to differ, and in the end he brought justice to thousands. All I can do now is repay him by doing the same.