I have something I want to pass on to everyone about President George W.
Bush and his compassion for people and specifically for a firefighter and
his family. I asked permission from the individual involved to tell this
story, but have decided to leave out his name for his family's privacy.
Wednesday Sept. 1, the President had a rally in Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide
Arena. We had approx. 65 firefighters there to show our support. The
Columbus Division of Fire also sent two of our Asst. Chiefs as part of a
meet-and-greet committee. One of the Assistant Fire Chiefs carried with him
a letter he hoped he could get to the President. The letter expressed this
Asst. Chief's admiration and thanks for his leadership. It went on to
mention that the Chief's wife would have liked to have been there to meet
the President as well, but that she has been battling cancer for several
years, and at this point in time she just wasn't able to do so. It asked
that the President and Laura keep her in their prayers. He also pointed out
that her parents would be in the audience as well, and that they were
longtime supporters. He also said that it would really lift his wife's
spirits if she were to ever get to speak with him.
The Chief had
asked one of the Secret Service personnel if there was a way to get this
letter to the President. The agent took the letter to one of the President's
staff. He returned with the letter and the Chief was told he could give the
letter to the President himself when he met him.
the rally, in the meet and greet line, the Chief was able to hand the letter
to the President. President Bush stopped, opened the letter and read it. He
asked one of his staff for a note card, stooped down and began to write a
note to the Chief's wife. After writing a lengthy note (and keeping the
limos waiting) he got up and read the note he had written, to the Chief. President Bush then put his arms around him, the President's eyes welled up
a little, and told him that he must remain strong for his wife in this
battle, and to "keep in touch." As the limo was leaving, the President
raised a salute to our Asst. Chief.
On the way home that afternoon, the Asst. Chief got a call from home. His
wife's voice was cracking a little and he worried that something was wrong. She told him "you won't believe who I just talked to." The President of the
United States, George W. Bush had called from Air Force One, en route to New
York and the convention, and talked with her for almost 10 minutes. He told
her to thank her parents for coming to the rally and for their support. She
expressed her admiration for Laura and what a nice job she had done during
her speech at the convention. She heard the President turn to Laura and tell
her, and she heard the First Lady's "Thanks." The President told her
that she was in their prayers. He told her to try and remain strong and told
her to "keep in touch" as well.
Asst. Chief involved wanted to express what a genuine person that George W.
Bush is. He said that you never saw a moment where the President wasn't
being himself. He saw a confidence in this man, but no sign of arrogance. What you see is what you get. A man of great faith and compassion, who is
sure of who he is and where he wants to take this country. He is not a
man of "nuance" and not one who has to explain several different positions
on issues as "complicated."
This story will not get told by the main stream media, but this is the kind
of story that happens every day with this President. There is no fanfare. There is no calling of the media and photographers to record and report
these events. This President is not interested in that. He feels it is part
of the job to elevate the spirit of the American people, and sometimes at a
very personal level.
One point the Chief emphasized is the fact that the President spent so much
time with him that the USSS were all looking at their watches. He told the
President that he felt bad about holding things up. He said that President
Bush looked up (while writing the note) and with that Texas grin said, “I'm
the President.......they'll wait for me.” Classic.
ED - This article was
adapted from a
post on the
FirefightersforBush.com message board.
Chief Karry Ellis (the Asst. Chief in the story) has posted his comments
about this in the
Martha Ellis lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, October 24,2004
Calls Man After Wife's Death