Long-time MIGA lobbyist Andy Kozak, who worked closely with Chairman Stan Crooks for more than twenty years, posted this comment and photo on his Facebook page yesterday. It is a heartfelt tribute, and one that expresses what many who worked with Stan Crooks are feeling today.
“This quiet, unassuming man, Stanley Crooks, for 22 years led the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe that tendered more financial help to other Native American tribes than any tribe in American history. And when thanks were offered to Stan, his reply was always the same: the thanks belongs to the tribal members who elected him to serve.
“Stan was exceptionally smart in politics and business. He was fearless and shrewd when facing threats to his or any other Minnesota tribe. Yet he was also wise and magnanimous. His life’s work was to secure the future well-being of the Shakopee Dakota people, and in his role as Chairman of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, the future of all Minnesota tribes.
“He was strong willed to say the least, but he would always hear out contrary arguments – a rare quality in powerful leaders–so that his decisions were well informed, timely and often ingenious.
“He was a client for two decades. He demanded our best effort and in return we received his most precious gift: his friendship. With the resources the tribe entrusted to him, he combined a great and generous heart and his array of talents to help make life better for literally thousands of people.
“Those of us who worked closely with him know how truly special he was in so many ways. Earning his trust and friendship is surely one of our most treasured accomplishments. We will miss him.
“You’ve earned all of God’s blessings, Stan.”