Durbin Honors Chicagoan Terry Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms, On Senate Floor
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate Floor today to honor Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer, who is retiring after over 7 years of service to the Senate. Gainer, who was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, has served longer than any Senate Sergeant At Arms since World War II, and was unanimously elected to his position four times.
“During his tenure as Sergeant at Arms, Terry has done an exemplary job of balancing security and public access to the Capitol and to the Senate. His steady management hand, quick smile, and constant presence in the halls of the Capitol and Senate office buildings will be greatly missed here,” Durbin said.
“I congratulate Terry on his distinguished public service career. From accomplished law enforcement officer and decorated veteran, to respected Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper. And, most importantly, I thank him for his friendship.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Durbin’s full statement, as prepared for delivery, is available below:
Remarks by Senator Richard J. Durbin
Honoring Terry Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms
May 1, 2014
Mr. President, there’s been a lot of talk in Chicago this spring about longevity.
Last week Wrigley Field turned 100 years old, the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
This week we turn to another Chicago institution – the Gainer family – for examples of longstanding, exemplary service. For a streak that lasted 103 years, there’s been at least one member of the Gainer family on the force of the Chicago Police Department.
That’s an incredible accomplishment. But more importantly to the Senate, for the last 7 ½ years, Terry Gainer has brought professionalism, determination, and safety to the United States Senate.
He’s served longer than any Senate Sergeant At Arms since World War II. Terry, who has served as Sergeant At Arms and Doorkeeper since January, 2007, is retiring this week.
His accomplishments are undisputed – from increasing the public safety and security of the Senate complex to ensuring the smooth administration of Senate services -- and that’s saying something with some of the toughest customers around, U.S. Senators -- to maintaining a welcoming environment for millions of visitors to the Capitol each year.
Terry Gainer has achieved something as Sergeant at Arms that the rest of us in this chamber can only dream about – four unanimous elections.
It is simply a testament to his work ethic, professionalism, and tenacity. And, I will say from much personal experience, Terry is one of the nicest people in Washington, DC.
He’s been a good friend to the Senate and a good friend to me. He even appeared as a guest on my cable show. Terry was born on the south side of Chicago and grew up in St. Barnabas Parish as the sixth of ten children. He served his country in Viet Nam and retired as a Captain in the Naval Reserves in 2000.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from St. Benedict’s College, Terry continued his family’s long tradition of law enforcement by serving in the Chicago Police Department for nearly two decades.
He obtained a Master of Science and law degree from DePaul University. Terry was appointed Director of the Illinois State Police by Governor Jim Edgar, and he held that position for seven years. He later moved to Washington, DC, to become second in command of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department.
In 2002, Terry became the Chief of the United States Capitol Police and was instrumental in facilitating the growth of that force in the very challenging times following the attacks of September 11th.
After a brief stint in the private sector, Terry returned to public service when he was appointed by Majority Leader Reid, a fellow former United States Capitol Police officer, to the Sergeant At Arms post.
As I noted earlier, during his tenure as Sergeant at Arms, Terry has done an exemplary job of balancing security and public access to the Capitol and to the Senate. His steady management hand, quick smile, and constant presence in the halls of the Capitol and Senate office buildings will be greatly missed here.
Mr. President, Majority Leader Reid announced that Drew Willison will be replacing Terry as the next Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper – officially on Monday.
Drew has spent more than five years in two stints as the Deputy Sergeant At Arms. He learned from the best – Terry Gainer.
Prior to his work in the Sergeants At Arms office, Drew was a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee staff. I worked closely with Drew in his roles with the Energy and Water and Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees. His experience and knowledge of the Legislative Branch will serve him well.
I congratulate Drew and wish him the best of luck. Terry’s service as Sergeant at Arms has set the bar very high, but I know Drew is up for the challenge.
Mr. President, I want to take a moment to acknowledge Irene Gainer and the Gainer family and thank them for unselfishly sharing their husband, father, and grandfather with our home state and the nation all these years. Terry and Irene have more than earned the right to slow down a bit and spend more time with their six children and 14 grandchildren.
I congratulate Terry on his distinguished public service career – from accomplished law enforcement officer and decorated veteran to respected Senate Sergeant At Arms and Doorkeeper. And, most importantly, I thank him for his friendship.
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