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The story of a dynamic industry that dominated Lake County for more than 125 years
I have enclosed a letter I sent Bruce before he passed away. I have to admit that I when I read it a little while ago to see how I could cut and paste into this tribute I cried and had to take a break. Rather than cut and paste I will share the letter. Bruce was another one of those remarkable blessing I have had in my carrier. He was an institution in Volusia County. Served for many years on Farm Bureau’s Citrus Advisory Committee and was the rock on my Citrus Advisory Committee for Volusia County. Bruce and his son Steve farmed in Illinois as well as Volusia County. He was a dynamic force in his church, his family and agriculture. Every year Bruce would have members of his Sunday School class and other friends over to make cane syrup. He had a big cooker and a patch of cane. It was one of those events folks looked forward to all year. I did not see Bruce much the past few years and wish I had made an effort to interact more. Hopefully I will learn from this situation and make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to visit old friends. Every time I take a 7th inning stretch, I will remember Bruce and that willingness he had to offer suggestions AND then help get the job done.
One of the best parts of my job as County Agent was the opportunity to interact with a wide range of growers, researchers, and others involved in agriculture. It was a joy to have so many friends through my job. It was clear which ones were the leaders and respected by all. You have been an inspiration and role model for so many of us over the years. Your sincere concern for fellow farmers, church members and citizens of the community is evident. Bruce you are the ideal example of a true leader; one that puts others first, listens to different viewpoints, offers advice/solutions rather than simply complaining, first to volunteer to see that a task is accomplished, encouraging the rest of us and a true friend. This last trait is one I value tremendously. It has been such a joy to interact with you and your family over the years. Always offering ideas and encouragement, welcoming me into your home and business, and sharing your experiences have all been fantastic.
Through your college contact as a catcher at UNC you were able to get my son and myself an up close visit to the campus and baseball complex. It was a trip we will never forget. By the way I know a lot about catchers – they are the team leader, they are involved in every play, they talk to everyone (not just their own players but umpires and opposing players), they understand the game, they take a beating, and they are the one that makes all their team mates look good (blocking bad pitches, throwing runners out, making the tag at home, directing traffic, etc.). You have carried these traits with you as you are a leader, you are involved, you interact with everyone, and you certainty have made a lot of us look good through your ideas and support. It is a shame we do not communicate our appreciation more often, however it is never too late to tell you just how much you impacted my life. I always enjoyed coming to Volusia County; everyone was so appreciative, it was a caring group of people willing to help each other, and it was always a learning and enjoyable experience. You were the leader of the group and always there to help others and I deeply appreciate your commitment to others (especially me).
Your love of family, church and friends is self evident. You have been rock for us; someone we could count on to be there to give us support and encouragement. Please know how deeply you have impacted my life; made it so much richer for knowing you, made it wiser from being around you, and made it more caring from seeing you in action. You are a rare individual for not only do you talk the talk, you walk the walk. You have had such a positive impact on so many lives over the years and I am most fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a friend of Bruce Crump, one remarkable man. You and your family are in my prayers and you will be a part of me forever. Thanks for the example you have provided and friendship given. We need a lot more like you on our team to show the rest of us how to experience life with humility, enthusiasm, true compassion for each other. Now it is time to join the game with the perfect coach; enjoy “catching” every pitch from our Lord, Jesus Christ (I bet he has a killer curve ball!)
With love; your friend and admirer
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