Later this week, Joe Ruzicka, who lives in the Dallas, will head to Washington D.C. for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) memorial service.
Ruzicka is a former naval officer. While he was serving, he was chosen by the Department of Defense to be a legislative fellow. Legislative fellows spend a year out of uniform working for a representative or senator on Capitol Hill. He was assigned to McCain’s office.
“This is a gentlemen who spent 60 years of service, and the reason he did it was not for self-promotion, it was for the betterment of this country. And it is a place he truly loved. He said when he was a prisoner of war, in Vietnam that he loved this country even more in a country while he was in another country imprisoned,” said Ruzicka.
In 2016, Ruzicka retired from the Navy, and McCain spoke at his retirement ceremony. He last saw McCain in October of last year.
Juan Hernandez of Fort Worth, met McCain in 1999. The Fort Worth Star Telegram first reported on their relationship. Hernandez was with then Guanajuato Governor Vincente Fox, when they went to Arizona. Hernandez then became McCain’s campaign director for Hispanic outreach. At one point during the campaign, Hernandez was attacked for his position on immigration. The campaign office was flooded with calls for McCain to fire him.
“After a few days of this, I went up to John and said 'John, I don't think I am helping your campaign. There are a lot of angry people out there.' And he put his arms around me, he embraced me, and he said 'Juan, don't quit, don't quit. I am not going to quit,'” said Hernandez.
He stayed and worked on the campaign, and says he cherishes that embrace to this day.