OGDEN — The widow of a Utah mayor killed while serving in the National Guard in Afghanistan says she is dedicated to making her husband's legacy about inspiring others to a life dedicated to service and helping others.
Jennie Taylor said in a recent interview with Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden that her husband Brent Taylor inspired others to believe in themselves, and she's dedicated to making sure his death empowers others as well.
"I hope the legacy is in inspiring people to say, 'What's my life mission?' Brent knew very well what his was. It was community service, it was patriotic service, it was family service, it was service to God," Jennie Taylor said. "He knew very well and he tapped into that from a very young age, much younger than most people are capable of."
Taylor, 39, was killed in a Nov. 3 attack by an Afghan commando he was training, military officials said.
He had taken a yearlong leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden to train commandos as part of an effort to build the capacity of the Afghan national army.
Besides his wife, Taylor leaves behind their seven children, ranging from 1 to 13 years old.
Taylor was on his second tour to Afghanistan. A military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, he also had served two tours in Iraq.
Jennie Taylor, 39, said she doesn't know yet exactly how she'll go about establishing her husband's legacy, but said she won't waste any of the $550,000 in contributions that have come since her husband's death.
Utah's congressional delegation is pushing to rename a U.S. Veteran Affairs building in Ogden after Taylor. A separate effort is ongoing to name an amphitheater set to be built in North Ogden in his memory. It was a project he backed as mayor of the northern Utah city of about 17,000 people.
Jennie Taylor said naming the Veterans Affairs building after her husband would be appropriate.Comment on this story
"He viewed it as a deep honor to be counted among those willing to both live and die for our country — across generations of time," she said. "It seems fitting that now that he has given his life as a soldier, his name and legacy will live on in a facility designed to honor and care for those who have been willing to do the same."
She said she is still in shock over her husband's death and still trying to figure out what comes next, but she has already made one promise she vows to keep.
"His life will not have been lost in vain, his blood is not spilled in vain," she said. "I will dedicate the rest of my life on this earth to making sure that does not happen."