Other Voices: Bratton accomplishments many; loss profound
I am a State Farm agent in Auburn. However, for 16 years I was the area manager for State Farm and had the privilege of recruiting and hiring Mike Bratton.
I appointed some very good agents during my tenure, but I can say that from the very beginning of my relationship with Mike and his family I have never been more satisfied that I had the good fortune to bring the very best “good neighbor” into the State Farm family that I’ve ever known.
State Farm has been from its beginning a family-oriented company and much of our success has been due to the type of agents we appoint. We don’t just look for a warm body as some sales organizations go, but truly try to find people who will represent State Farm’s deep-seated Midwest, business, ethical and, yes, moral standards.
Having been in this business since 1967, I can say for a certain that Mike Bratton represents the very highest standards of our company. Having started from “scratch,” i.e., with “zero” accounts, Mike has built one of he largest State Farm agencies in all of California. In fact in 2005, Mike was ranked in the top five of all State Farm agents in the country, which comprises approximately 17,000 agents. Pretty good.
But the beautiful thing about Mike Bratton is that he has maintained a friendly, community-oriented – and I’d say even a humble – attitude. Obviously, he has been very successful from State Farm’s point of view, but after having known Mike and his family for almost 25 years I have always felt his greatest success came from two sources: his family and his community involvement. His care and concern for both is well-known to all who’ve known him.
As Jeff Ackerman said in his column about Mike and Michael II, you know what kind of people they are. if ever there was human cloning, the Brattons would be my choice as the example to clone. Both Mike and Robin are selfless people.
They willingly give their time, money, experience, wisdom and advice to anyone who may need it. In fact, I have counted on Mike many times in my State Farm career both in business and personal matters.
I have said to him many times that “you’re my hero,” Mike!” He always turns it around and says, “No, you’re my hero,” and has always thanked me for the opportunity given to him. However, my thanks to him is multiplied a hundred times for what he brought to our great company and to me personally.
I could go on and on, but I wanted you to know that the Brattons’ tragic loss of their son Michael has had a similar impact on all those in State Farm who either knew Mike or about Mike and his contributions, in much the same way the Grass Valley/Nevada City communities have been impacted.
It is impossible for me to have the same feelings of loss as the Bratton’s, but there is no doubt in my life and in the lives of so many others in our State Farm family that the passing of Michael II has had the same feeling as losing a dear family member.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about them in your article, Mr Ackerman. Life will go on and I know that the Brattons will survive and do well. That’s exactly what Michael II would expect. He will always be in our minds and the good things he brought to his family will not be lost as time moves on. Like the pastor of Twin Cities Church said, “We’ll see him in heaven.” Thank God for that memorial service and the way it was presented!
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