October 13, 2011

Manchin to Deliver Remarks at Funeral of Mike Puskar

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will speak today at the funeral of his dear friend Mike Puskar, who passed away Friday. The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. 

The full text of his remarks – as prepared for delivery -- are included below. 

“Only a few people in your lifetime stand out as people of the highest caliber, people who truly care about making the world a better place not only for the present generation, but also for the next generation and many generations to come.  

“My dear friend Mike Puskar was one of those rare people. My wife Gayle and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to have even known a man of his caliber, let alone be dear friends with him for many years. 

“Mike passed away on Friday after a long and brave battle against cancer. 

“I first met Mike in the early 1980s before the start of a football game in the then-gravel parking lot at the WVU stadium, a place that we both truly love. The generator in his motor home wasn’t working, and luckily, the generator in my brother’s RV, that I was using,  did work. Mike plugged into our RV that day, and we were plugged in ever since. 

“Mike was a man whose friendship was unconditional. It wasn’t about whether you lined up exactly with his beliefs, he supported you as a person. 

“Mike dedicated his life to help others and to make a real, lasting impact in West Virginia. He had a tremendous heart and a strong sense of giving. Mike truly epitomized the word ‘friend’ at every level.   

“We can see Mike's handprint everywhere, at West Virginia University, at Mylan Park and in charitable organizations throughout West Virginia that serve those in need.   

“Mike loved to build things – whether it was his company or the waterfront in Morgantown. He gave the largest gift in the history of West Virginia University because he truly believed in making our state, our schools and our hospitals the best in the country. In fact, that gravel parking lot where we first met at the WVU stadium is now the site of the Mylan tailgate tent. But the thing that Mike was most proud of building was when he helped people build their own lives – and those of you who know Mike know exactly what I’m talking about.   

“Mike was a pioneer who started Mylan Pharmaceuticals to give people access to affordable quality medicine. Mylan is a home-grown West Virginia company that he started with his Army buddy, Don Panoz, in 1961. He led Mylan until 2002 and Mylan has continued to grow and has now become the third-largest generic and specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world.   

“There are so few people like Mike, whose legacy will echo for generations to come. Today, I am so proud to gather with you – his friends and family – to pay tribute to his legacy here in Morgantown, West Virginia – a town that he loved and gave so much to improve. 

“Today and every day, our thoughts and prayers will go out to the entire Puskar family, Mike’s friends and colleagues, and everyone whose life he touched as all of them mourn the loss of this great man. 

“While every one of us is truly going to miss Mike, he truly will never leave us. We have beautiful memories of Mike that will last a lifetime and his legacy to West Virginia and its people will remain in all of our hearts forever.”