Saturday, April 14, 2018

Who Is Randy Bryce - by Tracey Sperko

The following is from a Facebook post written by Tracey Sperko, as the title implies.  I am reproducing it here with her full permission and edited only to fit the format of the site.
The first time I met Randy Bryce was on a cloudy, windy morning when he rode up on his Harley. He was going to meet Mayor Barrett of Milwaukee, who had come out to send a group of us off to a protest Governor Walker in Madison. Can you hear Us Roar was a protest of thousands of motorcycles around the capitol and I was connected to Randy to do outreach from Southeast WI. The event went well except for the fact there was a misunderstanding with Madison and I was left with $2000 bill for union bug t-shirts. When Randy heard this, he called me up and met me to take the shirts to an Iron workers’ meeting and sell some. With Randy’s help, I was able to break even on the t-shirts. You see, I didn’t know him, but he called me sister. We were both in the military. He also discovered my WWII dad was an iron worker also. That is my experience with Randy Bryce. He is the kind of man that he would help someone he barely knew, unasked.

When I was working with homeless veterans in Milwaukee, Randy would drive up with donations. He checked in with me. Randy was this quieter guy who always came through. He was knowledgeable about veterans issues and supportive of their needs with his own money and his own time. I came to think of Randy as gentle giant who would come through in a pinch. He didn’t have an ego in the room, but asked where help was needed.

I was deeply involved in veteran issues and it was everything that I was with a blurring of lines. At the height of my good work one of those dramatic betrayals by folks I thought were friends happened. I will always remember Randy’s support. I was wounded. People didn’t know how bad it affected me, but it changed me. I had a position as Chair of the Veterans Caucus for the Democratic Party and I didn’t feel or want to do anything with veterans anymore, but I had to find someone who cared as much as I did. I had to recruit someone who had a heart. I had to find someone who would advocate for veterans issues. It was really simple, I called Randy Bryce. His name was the only name I had on my list to take over from me. Sadly, on my part I couldn’t handle things for a while and didn’t keep my promise to transition it for him. I left him hanging. Randy, being Randy, kept on doing. I have never apologized to him, but I do here. He has always been decent to me, respectful and kind, but sadly I don’t know that I was to him.

I support Randy Bryce for the man he is and the walk he does. If you want someone who has empathy, who is real, and who will listen, then it clear to me who you need to vote for- the Gentle Giant who is the Ironstache. You are my brother Randy and I will be comforted when you are in Washington D.C.

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