EATON — Judge Jenifer Overmyer swore Stephen R. Bruns in as judge of the Preble County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, Dec. 27.
Bruns ran unopposed in November and previously served as Magistrate for the Preble County Common Pleas Court.
Bruns is a Preble County native who graduated from National Trail High School. After graduation, he went to University of Cincinnati for undergraduate studies and attended law school at the Ohio State University.
He has been practicing law in general practice since 1983. He has done civil work, criminal defense work, criminal prosecution, and domestic relations work. He has also represented businesses and non-profit groups alike.
He is married to Lisa Bruns and together they share two children they are immensely proud of. Bruns thanked all three for their support and love over the years. He also thanked his father and tearfully mentioned his mother.
“Becoming judge of common pleas court is the highlight of my professional career. In the culmination of the journey that brought me here I made a decision to go into law. When I was five years old, my parents took my sister and me on a long weekend trip to Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum. They bought me, as a souvenir, two civil war soldiers, a union and a confederate cavalry,” Bruns said.
“My sister slept most of the trip home and I grilled my dad about the civil war and where these guys were from. I was fascinated and Abraham Lincoln became my first hero. I was so captivated by his story, that by second grade I wrote a play about Lincoln’s life that my teacher let us perform in class.
“The upshot was, I started telling everyone at that young age that I was going to be a lawyer, because Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer. As I became older, my pantheon of heroes expanded to Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Andrew Jackson — all lawyers. My career path became set in stone before I even entered high school.
“The next step in my evolution leading here today came courtesy of the Preble County Bar Association. I graduated from National Trail in 1976. I believe I’m the first National Trail graduate elected to the Preble County-wide office.”
Bruns shared, “For the nation’s bicentennial, the Preble County Bar Association sponsored an essay contest for seniors, the prize for which was a $100 savings bond.
“The topic of the essay was to explain the significant of the fact that our nation was based on the Rule of Law. I won the contest, which again is not something I am bragging about, because I was probably the only person who entered an essay. I got the savings bond at a ceremony of the county’s bicentennial celebration at the fairgrounds. The principal thing that I got from the contest was not the savings bond, but an appreciation for what I believe still makes America unique.”
He discussed the Rule of Law and why he believes it is necessary for a democracy to function. This essay contest, he explained, renewed his passion for becoming a lawyer. It is Bruns’ belief that the legal profession is essential to protecting freedom the rights of the people.
“That remains the role of judges and lawyers in our country: preservation of our rights and liberties of all people equally. That will be my guiding principal and my highest priority as judge of this court,” Bruns said. “I am very appreciative to be part of such a meaningful court. I want to thank everyone who encouraged and supported my candidacy. I am profoundly grateful to all of you for your help.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH