The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon — October 14, 2010

Integrity is a way of life

My minister at Rockford Reformed Church, Rick Tigchon, sometimes hits a “grand slam” of a sermon. Since the baseball playoffs are in full swing, I thought I would borrow one of its terms to describe his wonderful sermon given to us this last Sunday. Since the Lions finally won a game, I know I should be using a football term. But I love baseball, while I just like football, so I’m sticking to the baseball term.

Jerry Coon, Enrolled Agent

The sermon dealt with the subject of “integrity.” One of the examples he cited involved a father and son buried close to each other. The father had a very lengthy list of accomplishments on his gravestone detailing his life’s accomplishments. He must have been quite the fellow. The son, however, had only five

words inscribed on his grave marker: “A man of unquestioned integrity.”

Now that’s my kind of guy. Those words are powerful and say as much as we need to know about the son. It doesn’t say that his middle name was Solomon and he was the wisest man of the day. It doesn’t say he was a great athlete, or the best man at his job, or the best businessman in the area. It doesn’t say he was a great family guy, or the wealthiest man in the region, or even the nicest of guys.

What it does say is that he dealt with people on an honorable basis and with “unquestioned” integrity. He was a man of his word. Oh, he could have been wise, probably was a great family man, perhaps was someone who could hit a curveball, and may have operated a successful business. Those characteristics and abilities are items that his dad would have listed on his tombstone. Those accomplishments in and of themselves don’t tell the whole story. The son took it all one step further and let integrity be his guide. Those who knew him honored him with that five-word inscription: “A man of unquestioned integrity.”

What a different type of world this would be if everyone followed the son and let integrity be

their guide.

Rick and I are members of the Reformed Church, but integrity is much greater than the Reformed Church. It doesn’t matter if you are a Methodist, a Baptist, a Mormon, Muslim, a Buddhist, an agnostic, or an atheist. Integrity is a way of life for all us that entails dealing with our fellow man in a straightforward manner. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. I know there are lots of “grays” in our lives today, but I think we can talk ourselves into grays sometimes. I have a feeling the son didn’t see that many grays; he saw mostly blacks and whites.

Coming up in a couple of weeks is one of the most important elections we have ever seen. Up for grabs in this midterm election are both the Senate and House representatives on a national level, as well as our governorship and most of the legislative seats in Lansing. It’s huge.

If you are a supporter of Obama and want to see his programs continue, you might want to make sure you vote. If you are a non-supporter of Obama and want to see his programs stop or at least curtailed, November 2 can’t get here quick enough. It will be very interesting to see how this one turns out.

In Rockford, we also have an election coming on the 2nd. We are electing two people to the Rockford City Council. I am running for one of those two seats. Shortly, you will be seeing signs of that race. The Squire will be publishing a candidate profile. I will be out knocking on doors, shaking hands, and handing out information. However, I will not bombard the residents of Rockford with telephone calls. I think we can leave that to the national political parties.

With extensive experience in many areas, I will bring valuable input to Michael Young and the City Council. Like most cities in Michigan, Rockford is going to face many challenges in the future. With my varied experiences, I will help our special City meet those challenges. In addition to being the long-term writer of “The Tax Attic,” I have served on the boards of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the North Kent Community Services, and my church. I am a member of the local Rotary Club and have owned and operated Action Tax Service since 1989. My wife Deb and I have lived in Rockford since 1980, and both of our daughters, Kimberly and Stephanie, graduated from one of the best school systems in the state: Rockford.

While you are voting for the next governor on November 2, don’t forget the local election. I hope I can count on the support of my loyal readers. This is Jerry Coon signing off. 

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns Action Tax Service in Rockford.
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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.