January 13, 2020
America lost a great spirit this morning, and I lost one of my most treasured friends. Everyone who knew Mac McGarvey loves to trade stories about the flawless timing of his dry sense of humor, his pride in having served as a United States Marine, his loyalty to his friends, and the quiet, daily courage he displayed in reaching out and grabbing life after losing his arm on the battlefield of Vietnam.
Mac lost his arm while serving as my radio operator in a place of constant combat known by Marines as the Arizona Territory. We never lost touch. Among other occupations, he worked as a motorcycle mechanic, as a prosthetics specialist in the VA hospital system, and as a trusted assistant at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Nashville’s most famous Honky Tonk. When I decided to run for the Senate in 2006 Mac was the first person I called. I had never run for office before and I needed a constant sanity check, someone around me who knew people and who understood me and who I could absolutely trust. He quit his job in Nashville, moved into our basement for a year, and became my driver.
My entire family and Mac’s many, many friends are grieving today. And Mac’s departure leaves a hollow place in our hearts.
Below is an article I wrote for Parade Magazine many years ago.
God Bless You, Mac. And Semper Fidelis.