God help raise, a Good Son. And now he's a Good Man. I know he will do Great things for Kokomo. ♥ Thank you. — Essie and Darrell Hines
Tony Stewart is all for community and self sufficiency. He is a great leader focused on the growth of each individual to become their best. He is not about his selfish interest; what matters most is our advancement as a collective in unity, peace and harmony. Vote for Tony Stewart for City Council At Large. — Tommy Weir
Commercial Truck Driver
— Indiana LT. Governor Suzanne Crouch
Indiana LT. Governor
— Mike Braun
A CLARION CALL
By Dusty Stephens
I most respectfully offer to the good people of Kokomo the following insight that I hope will be of benefit during careful consideration of the candidates running for City Council At-Large.
Indiana was my home for twenty-five years, and for part of that time I was athletic director and varsity basketball coach at a Christian high school in the southwestern part of the state. It was in that capacity where I first met Tony Stewart, who, as I would soon learn, was so much more than an excellent point guard. Tony was also an exceptional young man who possessed such a perfect amalgam of courage and compassion that I had no doubt that “Stew” would one day be the kind of leader who would extend a hand of fellowship to anyone, no matter their station or status. Simply put: The younger Tony Stewart was not only a great shooter, he was a straight shooter, just as he is today, upright and forthright and doggedly determined to stay that way in spite of the shifting winds of circumstance.
Occasionally when I replay clips of treasured memories—as old coaches often do—I’ll recall the night when Stew picked up three fouls in the first half when only one was deserved. Noticing that he was understandably dejected as we headed to the locker room for our halftime chalk-talk, I quietly counseled: “Stew, rise above him. That ref merely represents himself, but you represent the Lord. So remember who you’re playing for and stay focused.” Before fouling out early in the fourth quarter, No. 33 posted a game-high 23 points, leading his Golden Eagles team to victory. I’ve often wondered if Tony ever noticed the ovation he received as he left the floor that night. It was apparent that many of the host team’s fans were well aware of what had transpired. Obviously they appreciated Tony’s skills, but moreover they admired his conduct, as did I.
I suppose to some extent I helped Tony navigate through the choppy waters of his teenage years, but time and again it was his faith that guided him back to shore and set his feet on solid ground. Nothing could ever make Stew follow the crowd when they were going in the wrong direction because he was never a go-along-to-get-along kind of person. It’s an attribute rarely seen today, yet in all my years of observing the factions and interactions of humankind, the leaders I’ve most respected have always resolutely refused to sacrifice principles for the sake of popularity.
When Tony was in the United States Army he would call from time to time just to visit. Very often our talks would extend well beyond midnight. Then in 1993, in the waning days of autumn, the phone rang unusually late one night. When I answered I heard that oh-so-familiar voice say “Coach, what are you doing?” I cleared my throat, adjusted my pillow, and said with a chuckle, “Well, Stew, I was asleep.” As usual we talked about the challenges of army life—of which I was well acquainted—and sundry other matters. But then quite unexpectedly our conversation took a divergent path when Tony said the words that are forever etched on the walls of my heart. “Coach,” he said, “you’re the best friend I ever had. You’ve always been there whenever I needed you, so I wanted to ask if you’d consider something.”
I said, “Stew, you know you can ask me anything. So go ahead, buddy. What’s on your mind?”
I was moved more deeply than words can express when I heard the young soldier say, “One day when God brings me the lady He wants me to marry, will you be my best man, Coach?”
When Donna, my sweet and tenderhearted wife, heard me say without hesitation, “Tony, I’d be greatly honored to be your best man,” she gently folded her hand over mine. Not until then had I realized that she was wide awake and listening. Tears of joy dampened our pillows that night.
Not surprisingly, God did indeed have a plan; a Jeremiah 29:11 kind of plan; a plan that included a very special lady. God’s choice for Antonio Stewart was the bright and lovely Dana Johnson— now widely known in the Kokomo area as Pediatrician Dr. Dana Stewart, MD, a graduate of the distinguished Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. On June 13th, 1998, Tony and Dana were wed in a glorious ceremony. There were almost two dozen in the wedding party, which, incidentally, included an older white man appropriately positioned at the groom’s side. I believe that on that day, this coach and Vietnam veteran was the happiest and most grateful best man in Indiana.
Donna and I recently drove from Tennessee to Kokomo for an overdue visit with Tony and Dana and their beautiful daughters. It was one of those wonderful family reunions that all too quickly came to an end. But fortunately before we left town, we toured the Stewart’s impressive office complex wherein I noticed a handsomely framed photo of a traveler caught in a snowstorm, trudging onward and upward as he carefully crosses a narrow swinging bridge that seems to disappear into a shadowed forest. Below the photo’s title — “The Courage of Integrity” — appears the following inscription: “The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity, choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity. These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”
I thought it was most fitting that these words are displayed on the wall outside Tony’s office for everyone to see, because, you see, those words so perfectly personify Tony Stewart the man, the pastor, the husband, the father, the friend, the soldier, the businessman, and the candidate.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to know who people really are without having to lift their veils? Well, Stew wears no veil, and those who know him well, know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyone can claim to be a person of integrity, but all too often evidence to the contrary surfaces when that claim is placed under the microscope of scrutiny. You can trust Tony Stewart to be who he claims to be: honest, compassionate, and forthright. He’s an extraordinary man who should be supported—no matter your race or party affiliation. I know it takes an uncommon kind of courage to objectively reexamine one’s long-held beliefs and then do the right thing in spite of external pressures and inequitable expectations, but without it there can be no unity or progress.
VOTE TONY STEWART FOR CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE
firstname.lastname@example.org— Dusty Stephens
Minister Antonio Stewart is a legacy change maker following in the tradition and footsteps of his trailblazing grandmother who served her family, community, church, and the most marginalized citizens of Evansville for decades. He is Built for these perilous times when civil rights, women's rights, and Democracy are under attack. As the father of four daughters he is a champion for both gender and racial equity. He has worn out nation's uniform and defended our way of life. A vote for this civic and faith leader is a vote for the American traditions that have made this nation strong and a symbol of freedom around the globe. — Dee Strum
Charter Member, Natl Coalition of 100 Black Women Indianapolis Chapter, Inc.
Tony Stewart has my full support for a second term on the Kokomo City Council. As a servant leader, Tony serves the city of Kokomo with integrity and unselfish determination to work well with others. His leadership has led him to make important decisions creating an improved community for all citizens in the city of Kokomo. Tony is of great value to the council and the people of Kokomo. I support Tony Stewart for re-election to the Kokomo City Council. Chadwick Collins Pastor/Educator M.Ed — Chadwick Collins
Over these past years , the public and I have had the opportunity to observe and evaluate your ability to get things done and keeping the agendas of Kokomo top of mind. Your honest, caring and professionalism to Kokomo problems and needs, and your willingness to examine the issues and listen closely to the public's questions and concerns, sets you far apart from the other candidates and so I am writing today to express my support for your campaign and to spread word to others of the value of your policies and abilities. — Sharron Underwood
Tony is my nephew whom I love and I am very proud of him. Outstanding character and work ethic. Most importantly he is a God-fearing servant of the Lord! — Jerome Stewart
President of zDiversity Supply Co. Inc
I endorse Mr. Tony Stewart for Kokomo City Council at Large. I have know Tony for over 10 years. He is a man of integrity, honor, wisdom, and great faith. Tony is a great leader who loves God, his wife, his daughters, his church, and our community. Kokomo would continue to be blessed to have Mr. Tony Stewart re-elected as Kokomo City Council at Large. Please vote for Tony this November. — Jon Brady
Tony is a man who has many of the qualities that I respect in a leader. He is an honest, hard working, God fearing, family man that has a work ethic that amazes me. He may need to disagree with you on a topic, but it is always with respect and dignity that he would do so. This man will work for the future of Kokomo and the advancement of its people every time. Please vote for my brother in Christ, Tony Stewart! — Wallace Moody
We appreciate Tony’s leadership and vision for Kokomo. — Mark Hurt