On December 18, 2015, my world came crashing down again. I have become accustomed to that. However, those times in the past it was something more manageable somehow. This time, it felt like the wind was knocked out of me. There was a call, I didn’t know the number exactly but I knew what was probably about. “Please don’t be the call, please don’t be the call.” I thought to myself. Unfortunately, it was the call. A young man’s voice came on the line and he said the words I thought I would never hear, “Dena, Jeff is gone.” The voice was of Jeff’s stepson. We hadn’t spoken to each other much over the years, there was no animosity between us, just distance. And yet here he was speaking to me for the first time in years to tell me my brother was gone. For awhile there I was unable to even breathe, losing him was that hard.
A few days again I started a campaign to get to Ohio so I could attend the Republican National Convention. I really wanted to go. Then I started thinking, maybe it is not I who should go. Maybe it is Jeff. Maybe I should not go for me, maybe I should go for him. So let me tell you about my brother and why he deserves to stand before the Republican National Convention. Jeff was an amazing man and I am just beginning to find out how amazing. People who are just finding out about his death are sending it in condolences, telling me stories what kind of man he was. So let me tell what kind of man that is:
First and foremost, he was a true follower of Christ. His world revolved around being the best possible Christian he could be. When I needed help building up my faith, he was there. He allowed me and everyone around him to see themselves the way Christ saw them. Secondly, he was a husband and a father. His family meant the world to him and he loved them without end. He was married to his wife for over 2o years, up to the very day he died. You have never seen love until you have stood in the presence of Jeff and Veronica. I was lucky enough to witness that love in my lifetime. Third, he was our brother. There was four of us, Jeff was number three and I was number four. Jeff and I had always been best friends. Lastly, and probably the most importantly to you, he was a Republican
Jeff was a lifelong Republican. In his first election, he voted for Reagan. He loved Reagan and thought he was the best President. He and I disagreed on that, even today. (I prefer Eisenhower, myself.) But he was a Reagan conservative through and through. Even when I was a liberal the one thing we agreed on was abortion That made sense, of course, we were both adopted. Why would either of us promote something that would kill us? He supported all my pro-life efforts. Before he died he asked me, “Dena if you could do anything with your life, what would you do?” I told him, “I don’t know, but it would have something to do with the pro-life movement. I want to end abortion.” I told him. To which he responded, “Then that is what you should do.”
Such a goal seemed out of my reach. But not for Jeff, he thought his little sister could do anything. “The way you write, Dena it touches people. You are going to do great things with your writing, that is your ministry,” he told me once. He was always telling me things like that. He was always telling people things like that, he could see the best in everyone. Jeff was a conservative, not because he thrived in taking people down but because he got his greatest joy in lifting them up. Jeff used his voice to stand for Christ. Jeff used his voice to stand for those who could not speak for themselves. Jeff may not have been a pro-life zealot, like his sister, but his life stood in testament to what happens when you choose adoption for your child, you get a life full of greatness. Jeff was my hero and I always used him as an example of a life well-spent in my pro-life work. Everything I did in that area was so I could save a Jeff.
So maybe if I get to the RNC, I shouldn’t introduce myself as Dena Leichnitz. Maybe what I should say is, “Hello, I am here standing for Jeff Leichnitz. He was a lifelong Republican and conservative. He loved this country and wanted the best for it. He believed in the Constitution and in our religious liberty. He was a man of God. My brother died way too soon but he left this world a better place and I am here to carry on his work. I am here to make sure his beloved party, the party of Reagan, whom he loved so dearly, does not fall to the “winds of progress.” It is not progress that we need but a reclaiming of our values. Jeff helped me see that I had always been a conservative, now I am here to help this nation remember so have they!”
To help get Jeff’s message to the RNC, go to this website: SendmetoRNC