George H.W. Bush secretly sponsored child


Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

George W. Bush.

Andrew Ball, Guest Writer

Although the recent passing of former President George H.W. Bush has been a solemn and saddening time for the nation, it should also be a time to reflect on his achievements, prestigious life, and more specifically his good deeds. Unknown to the public and even many government officials for a long time, former President Bush sponsored a 7-year-old boy in the Philippines for ten years using a pseudonym through the nonprofit organization, Compassion International.

Compassion International’s goal is to use local churches to help children in poor communities around the world. Bush first came into contact with this organization when attending a Christmas concert in Washington in 2001. During intermission in the show, time was taken out to discuss Compassion International, their goals, and if anyone was interested in sponsoring a child.

Little known to the security detail surrounding Bush just a few rows back, the forty-first president raised his hand and asked for a pamphlet. His security was alarmed at first due to the fact that they had no knowledge on what exactly was going to be on the pamphlet, or if the information on it had been screened for authenticity. This, however, did not stop Bush.

Shortly after this, Bush began to write to a young Filipino boy named Timothy. He wrote under the pseudonym “George Walker” to protect the boy’s safety. They did not want the boy to become a target if people found out he was in communication with a former U.S. president.

Each of the letters Bush wrote to Timothy were screened by Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International. But he did not make it an easy job for Stafford, as Bush often included more personal information in the letters than he was supposed to. Although sending presents was not allowed, Bush would send them anyway, especially when he found out Timothy loved to draw and paint.

When Timothy graduated the program at 17, Stafford’s executive assistant, Angie Lathrop, flew to the Philippines to finally tell him the truth of his pen pal, much to Timothy’s surprise. He told Lathrop he had no idea, and that the revelation was life-changing. This good deed by Bush is a truly touching and heartwarming story that serves to remind all that no matter who you are, you’re never too important to be a friend.