The entire Midlands region has lost a giant in the passing of Ike McLeese. Not only was he the Dean of the Midlands Business Community, he was one of the greatest advocates for our military that this state has known.
Ike changed the culture of regional cooperation, fostering the vision that together, the whole of the Midlands is greater than the sum of its parts. I am so proud to have served with him in building a coalition of government and business leaders that realize the importance of working together as one community.
And while his list of accomplishments are long and his 19 years at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce a testimony to his strength and character, it all pales in comparison to his signature leadership in keeping the military strong in the region. We can credit the expansions at Fort Jackson and the strength of Shaw Air Force Base and McEntire Joint Air National Guard Base to Ike and his leadership in helping the Midlands avoid military cuts in the 2005 base closings. His love for the men and women who serve our country was second to none.
There are so many things Ike did that only God and the angels know; but this I do know, today, not only did I lose a mentor, I lost a dear friend.
Angela and I lift our prayers up for Ike’s wife Sue, their family and to the family of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.