It has been 19 days since George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, passed away at the age of 94; and 13 days have passed since he was laid to rest next to his wife and one of their daughters near his Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. While not as widespread as during the days immediately following his death, stories regarding the former President’s life and legacy continue to be told. One particular case involves the elder George Bush, under an alias becoming a pen pal to a Filipino child and financially supporting him for ten years.
CNN Philippines tells us that Compassion International, a nonprofit charitable organization that aids children from poverty-line communities around the world, has publicized some letters written by an incognito George H.W. Bush since 2002, addressed to a Filipino boy named Timothy whom he has offered to sponsor via the organization’s correspondence program. An Office of George H.W. Bush spokesperson, Jim McGrath, certifies that the letters shared by Compassion International were genuinely from the hand of the former President himself. But the whole story between Bush and Timothy began one year earlier.
Bush learned of Compassion International while attending a Washington DC Christmas event, according to their former president Wess Stafford. Upon learning of the organization facilitating sponsorships from well-meaning benefactors to impoverished children, Bush decided to take on the case of Timothy, born 1993 in the Philippines (just months after he left office). Using the pen name George Walker, the former President, then 77, became a pen pal to Timothy, asking of his home life and schooling, and giving him advice. Despite rules about not sending gifts aside from financial aid, Bush did so anyway, giving Timothy books and art materials based on his hobbies. He also tried to hint to the boy his true identity.
Timothy only learned that his friend “George Walker” was George H.W. Bush when he was 17 years old and graduated from the Compassion International program, after a representative of the organization told him. Compassion International eventually lost contact with him, but Stafford recalls that Timothy described the revelation about his mysterious sponsor as something he felt has changed his life. “We may not know where Timothy is, but we know he’s now living a successful life,” Stafford concluded. “Sponsoring a child, even if they are still in the womb, can encourage them and guide them to become great human beings.”
The Compassion International organization is partnered with more than 7,000 local churches across 25 countries worldwide. Their sponsorship support is a boon to poor families, from childbearing mothers to children in need of early education. And their sharing has revealed more feel-good stories about the departed President George H.W. Bush.
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