Compassionate correspondence: George H.W. Bush sponsored Filipino child

Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group
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Biography of George H.W. Bush

Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group

George H.W. Bush’s compassion went farther than most people ever knew. The 41st president, who died on Nov. 30 at age 94, used a pseudonym and sponsored a 7-year-old boy in the Philippines for a decade, sending the child letters, photographs and gifts, ABS-CBN News reported.

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Bush sponsored a boy named Timothy through Compassion International, a nonprofit organization based in Colorado that uses churches in poor communities worldwide to help children, CNN reported.

To Timothy, the man writing to him was “G. Walker.” Compassion International shared several of Bush’s letters to the boy with CNN.

"I want to be your new pen pal," Bush wrote in his initial letter, sent Jan. 24, 2002, ABS-CBN reported. “I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met, I love you already. I live in Texas -- I will write you from time to time -- Good Luck. G. Walker."

Bush's former press secretary, Jim McGrath, confirmed that Bush actually wrote the letters, the Philippine-based media outlet reported.

"This is but one of seemingly countless acts of kindness that George Bush performed through the years without fanfare, but rather because it was what was in his heart," McGrath told ABS-CBN

Timothy graduated from the program when he was 17, and an employee revealed his pen pal’s identity, according to Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International.

"After a while, my executive assistant, Angie Lathrop, took over the sponsorship, and after Timothy graduated at 17, she flew to the Philippines to meet him," Stafford told CNN. "That's when she told him who his sponsor really was."
Timothy was stunned, Stafford said. Compassion International has since lost touch with Timothy, but Stafford believes the correspondence had a positive effect on the boy’s life.

We may not know where Timothy is, but we know he's now living a successful life," Stafford told CNN.

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