A Texas Treasure
The George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
In 1995 I was fortunate enough to donate 37 photographs of the 1991 Kuwait oil well firefighting campaign to the George Bush Presidential Libarary, all framed and with historical content about each photograph. In its initial showing I was able to meet General Norman Schwarzkopf and the exhibit has been shown several times over the years in its entirety. My late friend, Larry Flak, the primary engineer for the entire firefighting effort in Kuwait, and myself sought donations from firefighting companies involved in Kuwait, including hard hats, coveralls, etc. and essentially curated a permanent exhibit at the library where I am named as a contributor. It is a great honor for me.
For his personal donation to the Library, my friend, David Thompson with Boots and Coots, Inc., and I were invited to attend the dedication ceremony on November 6, 1997 where Presidents Bush, Clinton, Ford, Carter, Mrs. Nancy Reagan and then Texas Governor, George W. Bush were there to speak.
We received VIP invitations and sat in the same section of the audience as Tom Selleck, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris, among others. It was an amazing experience. I doubt many will ever now have the same privilege of seeing so many past Presidents together at one time.
President Bush eventually sent me a personal letter, and a signed photograph of himself and the First Lady actually in Kuwait in 1990 speaking to troops, which I have proudly hung in my office.
In 1994 the same exhibit I donated to President Bush's Library in 1995 was on display in the lobby of the National Bank Center in downtown Houston. I actually invited President Bush to the opening of the exhibit by personal letter. He had moved back to Houston by then. I did not think there was a chance in hell he could come; I think in the letter I even asked him 'to come have a beer with Coots (Matthews) and I,' who was also set to attend the opening.
He called me late one afternoon at my office, about a week later, to decline the invitation. When he announced himself at first I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke on me and actually said something like, "yeah right, who is this, really?" He was kind and gracious and grateful for the invitation. All I could do was utter something like thank you, Mr. President, I am ah, ah honored that you would call, sir.
Who takes the time to decline invitations now days, to anything, much less a former President of the United States... to an invitation from dumbass roughneck from Flatonia, no less... who asked him to come look at some photographs and have a beer?
George Herbert Walker Bush did.
Bless you,sir; rest in peace.
George H. Bush was an amazing baseball player, war hero, oil man, diplomat and President of the United States. Above and beyond all else he was an amazing son, father and husband. If you have never been to this Presidential Library in College Station please go. It is a gift to all Americans and a great treasure to Texas. When you go, plan on spending many hours. When you leave you will be truly humbled by the life this amazing man lived.