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I'd like to take a brief moment away from the political posts to say that Amy and I and our entire family join with everyone on our staff to offer our prayers and condolences to the family of our Legislative Counsel, Cody Rhodes.

Some of you had probably met with Cody or spoken with him on the telephone. He was a fine young man with a love of Tennessee, a love of the House of Representatives, and a love of public service. It's easy in this business to forget that many people that work in this institution simply have a desire to serve. Cody loved the opportunity to work for his home state and loved the challenge of trying to help others.

He started working for my good friend and mentor, Congressman Jimmy Duncan, who represented the Second Congressional District of Tennessee. When Jimmy retired, we had an opening in our office at the same time and were pleased to be able to have him join our staff. He immediately went about learning all that he could about the Fourth District - diving into the political history and backgrounds of all of our counties. He was well liked by all the staff and had a knack of knowing which issues deserved the right attention at the right time. With a polite southern humility, he knew when to make people laugh and knew when to be serious.

We were heartbroken and scared when he learned of a cancer diagnosis some time ago. He attacked the challenge with a determination and resolve that was an inspiration to all of us. Throughout the ordeal, he worried about his wife, family, and even this office more than himself. He wanted to stay connected to everything going on regardless of the medical office visits and treatments. There was no fight he wasn't willing to make, and he did everything humanly possible with strength and courage.

Cody was a big sports fan in addition to his interests in politics, and so I can't help but think of the great basketball coach, Jim Valvano. Valvano's famous speech about his own cancer diagnosis closed with the words, "Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind. It cannot touch my heart. And it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever."

Cody's mind, heart, and soul remained rock solid to the end, and now - while we feel the loss so deeply - the rest of him is pain free once again, and for that we will rejoice.

We will miss him greatly, but will take solace and comfort in the memories of a fine young Tennessean and proud American that will forever be a cherished member of our office.

Arrangements for Cody can be found here