A truly sad ending for a good man

A truly sad ending for a good man

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I have to announce Sheriff Ron Hain just confirmed that former Kane County Circuit Clerk and Republican Party Chairman Tom Hartwell took his own life. It’s a truly sad ending for a man who had an immeasurably positive impact on the people around him.

Tom started an Elgin gym to divert gang members. He helped innumerable indigent clients who came to him for legal help. He coached all manner of sports including a state championship baseball team. He was beyond generous with his time and money whenever it came to his church. I’ve never seen any elected official receive the kind of heartfelt constituent testimonials that Tom Hartwell regularly received.

Yes! Tom made what’s become a very public mistake that we briefly covered here at The First Ward. But like so many of his friends, I truly thought he would face those consequences and come out of it a better man than he was before. Trust me! I understand the depression that comes along with being the subject of a major investigation, but I desperately wish that Tom had made a different choice.

He was there for so many people that I wish he understood it was our turn to be there for him.

Tom and I haven’t talked since his election loss, but I wish I could’ve told him that suicide is never the answer. I’m devastated, so I can only imagine the pain his large extended family is feeling at this incredibly difficult time. I did not ask the Sheriff for any details because I really don’t want any of the details. The local papers will cover that soon enough.

I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but there’s a good reason I’ve consistently encouraged law enforcement to never forget that every defendant is a human being worthy of respect and a reasonable amount of empathy.

Tom Hartwell, you will be missed.

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