When Gary Lees announced in August that he was not running again for Brookfield trustee, he went over a long list of accomplishments.
At the trustees’ December regular meeting – the last one at which members of the public were likely to attend, although there still was a year-end meeting to go – Lees asked the board to keep in place some things that have been near and dear to his heart.
Lees started every regular meeting with a community prayer, and he asked that that continue once he’s off the board. In the prayer, he often asked God to guide the decisions made by the trustees and keep the township employees safe, and acknowledged a national tragedy or issue.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for always looking over me and taking care of me,” he said.
He asked the trustees to continue promoting education through the First Book program, which provides books to the families of newborns; continue working with the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau to highlight the Route 7 corridor through efforts such as the annual Route 7 Garage Sale; keep up membership in the Trumbull County Council of Governments, which he called “an extremely successful committee”; and to use partnerships, whether it be with other governmental agencies or individual citizens, to further township goals.
“For 24 years, I have been a keeper of this township, to preserve the history of the past, live in the present, always keeping the priorities for what would be the best for our citizens,” he said. “Keeping a vision on the future for our children and Brookfield Township.”
Trustee Ron Haun described Lees as a devout Christian, father, husband and friend, and noted his personal characteristics, such as humility and integrity.
“That’s what makes a trustee, is the man and his character,” Haun said.
Lee’s character traits came into play early on in his tenure, when the relationship between the trustees and Trumbull County officials was poor, Haun said.
“After a period of years, Gary Lees the man, because of his humbleness and his kindness and hard work, redeveloped a relationship with the county, which helped me build relationships and now is also helping (Trustee) Dan (Suttles) build relationships with the county, which are vital to the existence of our township and projects going on,” Haun said.
“Gary, over these years, it’s been a pleasure working with you,” Haun said. “Your accomplishments are numerous. As a man and as an acquaintance and then as a friend, I want to thank you.”
Suttles noted Lees’ integrity, faith and forgiving nature.
“I’ve said this before, no matter what, and I can say this about both my trustees that I’ve worked with, they have the community at heart,” Suttles said. “Gary Lees has had this community at heart for a long time. The decisions that he thinks about and does, it’s all about Brookfield Township. People say sometimes, when people get elected, ‘Oh, they have an agenda.’ Well, Gary had an agenda and the agenda was Brookfield Township.”