To Our Dear Fellow Residents of the Great City of North Ogden,
Our hearts are so full. There are not words adequate enough to express our gratitude for the outpouring of love and support we have felt since we received news of Brent’s passing, having been killed in action in Afghanistan. It is still a shock; it doesn’t seem possible that he isn’t just a few months away from getting on a plane and coming back home—back to me, back to our beloved children, back to the rest of our family, back to our mini farm, and back to work with and for our beloved City.
Beginning on our first date, Brent and I had repeatedly discussed service to our God, our family, and our country. He had long wanted to join the military, and we both love America.
After several months of dating, Brent proposed, and three days later we walked hand in hand into the Utah National Guard headquarters building where he enlisted as a soldier in the United States Army.
We were married in September of 2003; Brent was gone most of 2004 for his initial Army training. In 2005 we bought our first home and had our first baby. Less than a year later, his orders for his first deployment to the Middle East were already underway.
He commissioned through the BYU ROTC in spring of 2006, and we moved to northern Ogden that fall. Our son Lincoln was born in January of 2007, and Brent left to northern Iraq in May of the same year.
He finished that tour of duty the following spring and immediately moved on to his second deployment in Iraq, this time serving in the embassy in Baghdad.
Brent retuned to Utah in the fall of 2008 and was hired by the FBI in Washington, D.C. We had a house under contract there and were a couple weeks away from moving when Brent felt we needed to rethink things and stay in North Ogden. I joked that he was either a visionary or crazy—and I was banking on visionary, so we decided to stay.
Brent went into business with my brother, and began working on his Masters of Public Administration at the U of U (MPA). After an evening MPA class in July of 2009, Brent came home and told me he was thinking of running for city council. This was days before our third child was born. Once again, I called him a visionary and gave him my full support.
We spent the next several months campaigning for his spot on the city council—and by “we” I mean Brent walking door to door, with Megan riding her scooter, and with me pushing Lincoln and newborn Alex in their stroller.
He was elected in 2009, and deployed again in 2011, this time to Afghanistan. He took a leave of absence from the city council, and Dave Hulme filled his spot for the time being. By this time, Jacob had joined our family, and so we had four kids at home.
That first deployment to Afghanistan was extremely hard on me, and I was blessed with wonderful friends and neighbors who stepped in to help our young family. When Brent returned home in the fall of 2012, I was fairly sure that was the end of our deployment history.
The following spring Ellie was born, and the very night we brought her home from the hospital was the first time I attended a meeting with Brent and several North Ogden residents to discuss the possibility of his running for mayor. Once again, his visionary ambition had my full support. Days later, he graduated with his MPA from the U.
After a long and somewhat hard-fought campaign season, Brent was elected as mayor in the fall of 2013. He filled the position on a part time basis initially, and then sold his part of the business he shared with my brother and began working as a full-time mayor. Brent always worked hard to make sure people felt heard and respected—even if (or perhaps especially if) they didn’t exactly agree on things. He, the city council, and staff have had a great working relationship and have worked well together in countless projects and initiatives.
In 2014, we sold our Country Boy home, and bought our “mini farm”. Brent and I valued the opportunity to teach our kids to work hard by having to work outside in the yard. Brent also recognized his own need to stay grounded and he would often come home from a long day of work, change his clothes, and go outside to work in the dirt.
2015 found us welcoming Jonathan into our family, while Brent enjoyed dedicating himself to his work at the City, efforts to improve the County and State through his business and political associations, and working on his PhD at the University of Utah.
2016 passed in somewhat of a blur. Lots of City work, continual monthly drill weekends with the National Guard, several Board and Committee meetings, raising kids, working on the farm, and just enjoying the busyness of life.
2017 was a campaign year again—and we were again awaiting the arrival of a baby. Brent ran uncontested in his bid for re-election and Baby Caroline joined our family. We also began to prepare for this current deployment.
We knew we would have to make a public announcement about the deployment, and that it would be met with mixed reactions. So we revisited our resolve to serve our community and country, and we found ourselves even more committed than ever before.
Service to God, Family and Country have always been at the forefront of everything Brent has ever done. For him, service to any one of these has always been service to all three.
As Brent has been dedicated to serving our God, family and country, our family has been enveloped in the love and support from that same God, and from countless individuals throughout our country—and especially those of you here in our “home sweet home” area.
We can’t thank you enough. To know that you mourn with us, that you are grieving with us, and that you are also willing to help carry Brent’s legacy forward with us, brings us great peace and comfort.
In this time of heartache and tears, you have buoyed us up with your love and prayers. You have given us hope, as we have begun to see ourselves as part of something so much greater than any one of us individually.
Our family feels incredibly humbled by the outpouring of faith, hope and charity in our behalf. And we likewise feel incredibly honored to now stand among the thousands of American families who have previously given their loved ones in service to this great nation, and to further the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all mankind.
May God forever bless America, and may He forever bless us in our efforts to remain the land of the free and the home of the brave.
With all of our love,
Jennie Taylor and family