Jeani Murray

A staffer's perspective: What Congressman Boswell taught me

Jeani Murray managed Leonard Boswell’s 1998 campaign and served on his Congressional staff. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Leonard Boswell was mortally wounded from Agent Orange poisoning in February of 1969 while serving as an assault helicopter pilot in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

Retired Colonel Charles Teague, a longtime colleague and dear friend of Leonard, shared that revelation with us while giving an impressive eulogy last Saturday.

It took 50 years and six months to take his life, but that flight sealed his fate. And the astonishing thing is he didn’t have to go on that mission. He was the commander; he could have sent any one of his airmen to do the job. But as a leader, Leonard Boswell would never ask his pilots to do something he wouldn’t do himself.

So many times Leonard said the same thing to me when I worked for him. Never ask your team to do something you are unwilling to do yourself. That lesson on leadership has remained with me to this day.

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