It's hard to put into words the grief for someone that you knew, but wish that you had known better.

I knew Nathan Hesson first through his job at Vinton Unlimited. It was clear that he loved his community not only in serving in this position but then later on the City Council. 

Later I observed him and his excitement for his kids as they prepared to take their first airplane ride at the airport. The excitement he had for whatever his kids were doing seemed to be greater than his kids at times. He was just one of those guys that enjoyed life, all of it. 

In my job, there are times that you get to observe people doing their job. When you do, you often get a feel for what the person is like in real life. Covering the City Council I had a chance to observe Nathan as the 4th Ward's Councilman and saw early on that he was an example of integrity. He was quick to step back and consider issues before giving his vote. He was measured in his responses and was never one to give a quick answer. Often you'd see the wheels turning before he spoke and when he did it was usually a thoughtful question to clarify something that wasn't clear to him and some of the rest of us in the room. Sometimes it was to dig a little deeper into the issues. It was always fun to see sometimes a serious issue being discussed and Nathan would come up with some humor to lighten the mood a bit. At the same time, he wasn't afraid to contradict if he thought it was valid.

He was always an example of what you look for in a leader. He approached his job with the seriousness that was required and the sense of humor that you need for the job. He was well respected among his peers and in the community.

In all of his roles, he was first and foremost the proud dad of Lily and Noah and husband of Ashley. It was clear that his family was his number one priority. 

Sometimes there just aren't words that sum up such a loss. The community was better because Nathan was part of it. The city had someone serving who endeavored to do his very best for Vinton. 

One of my kids summed up Nathan and his siblings with, "There isn't one of those kids that isn't awesome." I know this isn't about Nathan's parents, but it is. Raised by Kevin and Deb, and having grandparents that he looked up to, Nathan honored them all with his life. 

Unfortunately, this man lost his battle last week after years of health issues. Hospitalized in Boston where the expertise for him was located, Nathan checked into the hospital 74 days earlier and passed away on Thursday evening, January 21, 2021, after fighting heroically the complications that arose following surgery. I know there were times that he didn't want people to know about his health struggles, and we never did.

If there was ever a man that you wanted to be able to point to and say, "Be like him," it would have been Nathan. 

Thanks, Nathan for all that you did, all that you were and the example you set. Our hearts go out to Nathan's family, you will all be in our prayers. 

To read Nathan's obituary, click here.

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Comments (3)

Very well said. Nathan was a great human being. Parents forget the impact they have on their children, he was indeed a result of a long line of great parenting. He and Ashley were carrying on a fine tradition! My prayers for the family.
By: Patty Morgan on January 25th 1:40pm
A great tribute to a man I wished I had gotten to know. But I know his parents and what examples they are of serving God with a giving, honest and open heart. Praying for the whole family.
By: Betty Thorsvig on January 26th 1:03am
To Ashley, Lily, Noah, Kevin, Deb and the family and friends of Nathan, let me extend my deepest sympathy for your loss. Valerie's eloquent words struck a chord with me and at first was not sure if responding to an opinion would do justice, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. I did not know Nathan personally, but I did follow his life when he was at Vinton Unlimited, and was on the city council. I did not know of his health struggles, but from what I have read over the years and garnered was that Nathan was not afraid of living or what the future held. He lived and lived well. His family is rock solid on both sides, his parents are very good people his grandparents were and are pillars of Vinton. Nathan was young man that had faith, family, a career and sense of community. It is no surprise to me that he lived life to the fullest and his legacy will live on forever. Cherish the memories as they live on forever. I know your family is grieving, but you all now have an angel that will watch over you. Nathan's life is a blueprint or template for others to emulate or follow. His priorities in life were God, family those two interchangeable, career and sense of community. If a young person in Vinton needs a role model, do what Nathan did while on this earth and you will have succeeded. It is in death that we celebrate life, as it brings it into focus for those still alive. I will pray for you Nathan and your family. God will help them with your sudden passing, but you have left an indelible legacy that will live on forever. Rest in Peace, Nathan, Rest in Peace.
By: David Boddicker on January 27th 8:04am

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