Passing of Joe Egan|
It is my sad duty to report to you that Mr. Joseph R. Egan, long standing legal counsel to TRA and NAR, died on May 7, 2008, after an extended and courageous battle with cancer. He was living in Naples, FL at the time, although he kept in touch with his firm and with us, still giving legal direction through his illness.
Joe was a tremendous supporter of TRA and NAR, delivering excellent legal representation to our organizations, in a dedicated and tireless manner. But he was more than our attorney. He was a rocket enthusiast and a champion for our cause. Seeing him in action in court, I can attest that he invariably presented our case brilliantly and compellingly. I will forever remember his calm composure in front of Judges Tatel, Edwards, and Garland of the appellate court, answering their tough questions and conveying our arguments in a clear, effective, and irrefutable manner. With the outstanding preparation skills of Marty Malsch and the courtroom command of Joe Egan, the appellate court clearly were convinced, and overturned the District Court's previous verdict (granting deference to the ATF) in an extremely strong opinion in our favor. One could not help but highly respect the skills of our legal team. I had the impression that in a match against anyone's opposing counsel, we were fortunate to have the true legal hard-hitters on our side.
Most of you never met Joe, and I can say that if you had such a chance, you would no doubt have liked him. He was an extremely intelligent man, endowed with wit, taste, and charm, in addition to an exceptionally sharp legal mind. He was enjoyable to talk to and to work with, he appreciated and respected what our organizations were doing for civilian rocketry, and I think he wished he had more time to fly rockets himself. I had many opportunities in the past few years to work with Joe in person, on the phone, and in e-mail. He was one of the good guys, and I will miss him.
What saddens me as much as anything is that I truly wish he had lived to see us prevail in final form with this case. Mark Bundick, Joe, Marty and I all pledged to meet in DC to raise our glasses and toast victory some day. Joe Egan deserved to see that happen. But when that day comes, I will drink in his honor, and will remember with fondness a fine gentleman who fought the good fight, for the true rights of private citizens.
I will keep my column brief, as I have taken up enough space later in this issue in the form of my Board of Directors résumé. Once again, I request all members to please read through the candidates' résumés, evaluate them and cast your votes. At the time of writing, I do not know who all will be among the candidates, but I do know we continue to need good people at the helm of TRA.
I also know that current director Darren Wright has decided not to run for re-election, primarily because of the growing time and attention he must devote to his business responsibilities. I want to thank Darren for his contributions on the Board, and for his willingness to retain the duty of being our primary NFPA representative. Darren is a great guy, with a level of honesty, wit, candor and passion for rocketry that is hard to match. He has been a vocal and deeply engaged director, unafraid to speak his mind and keep us all honest. He has shown insight and savvy well advanced for his tenure on the Board, and he never failed to help us make good decisions. Thanks again, Darren, for your work as a director and as our NFPA guy.
Obviously, this means we will have at least one new director on the TRA Board. All the more reason for members to read through those résumés, and send in ballots!
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