MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Saturday marks one year since the death of Former President George H.W. Bush, a man with strong ties to the Permian Basin.
Our Monica Quintero sat down with several people locally. She talked with a man who knew him as well as how his legacy will continue to live on for generations to come.
“From a character standpoint, you couldn’t find a finer person that George H.W. Bush.”Ernest Angelo Jr, Former Midland Mayor
First we spoke with Ernest Angelo Jr, a former Midland Mayor, who knew President Bush.
Monica: You personally knew Former President George H.W. Bush before he even became President. Talk to me about that, take me back to that time period?
Ernest: I think the first time I met him was when he was running for the U.S. Senate. It was sometime in the ’60s.
Monica: Do you remember your first encounter with him and what it was like?
Ernest: Well, he’s a very impressive man and I thought this was an outstanding guy who’s got a lot of potential.
Monica: What was his personality like? I mean a lot of us see him on TV, we’ve seen the clips but is he that person we saw on television?
Ernest: To a large extent, he’s not I don’t think because there’s a lot more to him than that. He was an extraordinary individual that did unbelievable things in his lifetime, but he was not a great communicator like for instance, we all think of Ronald Reagan. One on one or in small groups he was a warm personality.
Monica: You have some pictures, you have a letter on your wall from Former President George H.W. Bush. What does the letter say first of all?
Ernest: The letter is an example of what a caring individual he was and how much he kept in touch with people. That’s just the way he was, he took the time to express his appreciation.
Monica: What word describes Former President George H.W. Bush the most?
Ernest: Mmmm, that’s a tough one. I think Patriot.
Monica: How come?
Ernest: Just look at his life, what he did. He was the youngest Navy Pilot in World War II. He was a hero as a pilot in combat. He went on to be a C.I.A. Director, Vice President, and then President of the United States and lived an exemplary life.
BARBARA AND GEORGE H.W. BUSH CONVENTION CENTER
We also spoke with Brad Barnett with the Midland Chamber of Commerce.
Monica: Talk to me about this convention center. I understand it just opened this year, give us a little background on it.
Brad: We just opened the new Bush Convention Center on September 26th, 2019. Almost four years from closing the old Midland Center to opening the new Barbara and George H.W. Bush Convention Center.
Monica: Any time a convention center is brought into a city, there’s always debate about the name. So how was Former President George H.W. Bush brought into the mix?
Brad: Shortly after the Former President passed away last year, the chamber of commerce, city manager, and mayor all got together and were really brainstormed how can we honor the Former President. I know there were several options they looked at, but what they settled on was naming this new facility. I think it was really special that we named it after Barbara and George H.W. Bush. Just both of them having such an impact in our community and not just our community, but around the world.
Monica: When it comes to Former President George H.W. Bush, what do you want people to remember about him? What do you want them to take away?
Brad: I think he very much characterized Midland values of that self starter, pull yourself up by your straps, go out there and get things done. Really, he thought big. I mean we’re sitting in the Tall City.
GEORGE W. BUSH CHILDHOOD HOME
We sat down with Jacyln Woolf, the Interim Executive Director.
Monica: How long did Former President George H.W. Bush and his family live there and give me a sense of what it was like back then?
Jacyln: They lived there from 1951 to almost 1956. So, nearly five years in total which doesn’t sound like a long time, but for them that was a long time to be in one house. The house itself not only is it still in the same location and then of course, we have put it back and restored it to look as close as we could get to the way that it looked while they were there.
THEY EXPERIENCED THE LOSS OF A CHILD IN MIDLAND
Jacyln: This display is special to us also because it has a lot of information about the little girl that they lost in 1953 and her name is Robin. She had passed away several years earlier of Leukemia and that was while they were living in Midland. Although she was in a hospital in New York when she died.
Monica: I know you have a lot of visitors that stop by. What’s shocks them? What really stands out to them about the Bush family?
Jacyln: Well, one thing that stands out is they usually are surprised that the house is not bigger. I think many people just don’t realize their beginnings were just very humble and that they didn’t start out wealthy.
Monica: When you first saw the picture of a younger, former President George H.W. Bush what went through your mind?
Jaclyn: It’s just interesting to see how he had changed but really he was very recognizable as a young man. One thing that George W. and his dad liked to do together was to build model trains. He had always wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He wanted to go into the oilfield like his dad had, He wanted to go into politics like his dad had been, but it was always something he wanted to do to honor his dad and to emulate him.
Monica: Why do you think it was so important to have a museum like this? To show people where the two Presidents once lived.
Jacyln: The fact that two Presidents have lived here and just the fact, that they were such a down to earth and a normal family and such a part of Midland/Odessa. We would hate for their memory to be forgotten.
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