This past Wednesday, the LEAP Ambassadors had the opportunity to tour Former President H. W. Bush’s office in Houston. LEAP’s favorite photographer, Mark Burns, collaborated with Bush’s former chief of staff, Jean Becker, to help create this unique opportunity for us. In the early afternoon, we arrived at what seemed like just another office building in Houston. However, after walking through the doors, a bust of the former president is seen on the wall, sculpted by none other than Huntsville’s own, David Adickes!
After stepping out of the elevator and making our way down the hallway, we noticed that Former Ambassador Chase Untermeyer’s Houston office is located just down the hall from Bush’s.
Ambassador Untermeyer will be coming to the SHSU campus to visit with students on February 27th, and we can’t wait to ask him to share with us his experiences in government and with President Bush.
And then there was the Secret Service office that required check-in before heading to President Bush’s office…
…and then there was President Bush’s office.
Stories about Bush weren’t in short supply among the people working in his office.
He was described as a kind, caring man who loved to skydive and could be quite spontaneous, much to the chagrin of his office staff and secret service agents.
We were shown around the office where numerous photographs, paintings, and gifts were pointed out to us with a story behind each one.
A couple of our favorites were the Presidential Seal made out of Waterford Crystal which was a gift from the Irish President…
…the many photos of President Bush skydiving, and a solid gold iPad encrusted with diamonds given to him as another gift from a prince of Saudi Arabia.
We were led into Bush’s personal office which was large, spacious, and bright with windows all around showing views of the distant downtown skyline.
We had a chance to see something as serious as a map of military installations that he and Gorbachev had discussed near the end of the Cold War…
…while also seeing something as down-to-earth as signed guitars he received from Taylor Swift and Brad Paisley.
We posed for a picture in the office before moving on.
Ms. Becker also took us into her office to share stories and show photographs, including some by Mark Burns, who helped us set up this tour.
Through the stories told and the pictures seen on this tour, George H. W. Bush began to morph from a man we’ve only ever read about into one we felt as though we knew.
We thanked both Ms. Becker, Mark Burns, and our tour guide, Ms. Sage, for taking the time to show us around.
It was our fourth event in three days, and three of those events had in one or the other revolved around President Bush and his Presidency, giving us a renewed appreciation for him as a President and as a human.