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Reflections On Mayor Tom Henry

As Mayor Henry’s tragic passing impacted our community, it impacted some more closely. Mr. John Dortch, Owner of Ink Spot was one whom it impacted more deeply. In the time that I have known Mr. Dortch, he has always spoken highly of the mayor and their relationship and history together dating back to when they both worked for Parkview Hospital. Just a few days before the mayor’s passing, he and Mr. Dortch saw each other Saturday at a community event honoring Miss Indiana, Cydney Bridges, for becoming 2nd runner up in the Miss America pageant. Mayor Henry was there with many of us, giving her personal congratulations for being a great representative of our city and state on a national level.

I was able to chat with Mr. Dortch about his friendship and relationship with the mayor over the years. While at Parkview together, Mayor Henry was a Regional Outreach Vice President and Mr. Dortch was a Vice President in HR. Mr. Dortch shared that they worked closely together and even when they had differences in opinion, they worked it out. He shared, “The mayor always had his head and heart in the right place, and he also knew the value of compromise, noting that people did not always agree with him.” Mr. Dortch recalled a story from one of Mayor Henry’s early terms about a meeting with a group that didn’t go well which is when he and Mr. Dortch started meeting and connecting regularly to share insights and commentary about certain topics over the years. They would talk about a variety of subjects, both community and personal issues together and they grew a close knit and confidential relationship through his time as Mayor leading our great city.

Mr. Dortch recalled an email from the mayor a few Christmases ago where the mayor thanked him for being a good friend and confidant. I got the feeling that they both valued each other and their time together in their relationship.

Mr. Dortch was able to support the mayor in a variety of ways over the years and throughout his tenure as mayor even on some projects by recommending contractors and the like. They supported each other wholeheartedly. When Mr. Dortch opened the Dream Center a year ago, Mayor Henry was present to support and cut the ribbon along with many community supporters.

As we closed our conversation, Mr. Dortch shared these final thoughts, “I considered him a close friend and we had a relationship beyond his job. He was always focused on the city even throughout his brief sickness and I will miss him dearly as we all will. He was a great man and leader.”

This column is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Ink Spot, a black-owned Indiana newspaper focusing on regional and national stories, especially those impacting African Americans and minorities. This collaboration with The Waynedale News aims to promote diversity, inclusivity, and appreciation for the local black community by representing all residents’ voices. Follow FWIS on Facebook and Instagram, or find a retailer at www.fwinkspot.com.

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Tabitha Ervin

FWIS is a black-owned, Indiana based newspaper that discusses regional and national stories that highlight individuals in the community as well as topics that affect African Americans (and other minority groups). > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer