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SMS Text might have been Chip Gerdes’s art form. Text chats with Chip, usually late at night, were always lively, argumentative, funny, irreverent, and delightful.
Chip and I texted back and forth until midnight last night. During that chat, I made a commitment to take a trip to Quincy and see him. We both looked forward to it.
Our reunion was delayed.
The first time I met Chip was in front of Rep. Russ Carnahan’s office on Manchester and Brentwood in August 2009. We were holding a Tea Party protest against Obamacare, and Chip led a large contingent of Quincy (Illinois) Tea Partiers to support the cause.
That’s what Chip did: support the cause.
At the I’d never seen a photo of Chip, but I recognized him immediately. Ball cap, sunglasses, flip-flops and a handful of T.E.A. Special Forces t-shirts. He tossed me one, along with a big, boyish grin. We shook hands and hugged.
Over the next three and a half years, Chip became great friends with many St. Louisans in the fight for freedom. He helped create Tea Party stars from behind the scenes. He recognized voices that would resonate, and he got them a stage. Then it was up to them.
Chip was a remarkable, gracious host, a charming and entertaining guest, and a true hero in the fight for liberty, freedom, and good government.
Chip Gerdes passed away last night. He leaves a widow and daughter and a massive family of freedom activists. We miss him. We love him.
Eternal rest grant to Chip, Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
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