George Herbert Walker Bush filled many roles in his time here, from a congressman to an ambassador. He then later went on to become CIA Director, then Vice President, and finally he became the 41st President of the United States.
Suffice it to say, the man was busy! After the former president’s passing on November 30th of this last year, many secrets, stories, and memories arose of how he conducted himself in day-to-day life, painting a richer description of his character as a normal human being.
Perhaps the most surprising of these new discoveries though was the revelation of his long-held friendship with a young Philippino boy that he became pen-pals with in 2002.
The relationship came about through Christian charity, Compassion International, and their program of connecting people from various churches all over the world to children that they can sponsor in impoverished regions.
Through the program for $38 per month, a person can help provide medical care, food, housing, education, and mentorship while learning about the love of God.
When Bush was informed about the program at his local church, he knew that he wanted not only to sponsor one of these children but also wanted to have a relationship with him by becoming his pen pal.
So when his application for the program was complete, Bush wasted no time in writing a letter to Timothy expressing his joy over their new bond and the love he already harbored for the young boy.
“I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already.”
Although the former President informs Timothy in his first letter that he lives in Texas and will continue to write him from there, he signs off on his letter only as G. Walker.
Bush requested that the charity keep his true identity a secret. Not only did he want to make sure the boy came to no harm for being associated with him but also wanted to be a sponsor without special recognition.
While he never revealed himself to be a former U.S. President to Timothy directly, he did slip in a few clues here and there in his letters that revealed what he did for a living.
In one letter, Bush wrote to him saying that he had gotten to visit the White House and picked up a souvenir for Timothy.
He didn’t stop at that with the hints either.
In a different letter that was typed, he informs Timothy that the President of the United States would be visiting the Philippines soon and that he knew for a fact the President had a love for the people there.
Another of Bush’s letters included a picture of his dog, Sadie. He explained to Timothy that Sadie was not your average dog and that she had gotten to meet many famous people in her life.
He also explained in other letters that he spent most of his time traveling through the United States to give speeches and to help different charities.
As their pen-pal relationship continued throughout the years, Bush also sent gifts to Timothy as he learned more about how he liked to spend his time learning to draw and play the guitar.
Upon finding out that the young boy had a talent for art, he sent him a drawing pad with pens, colored pencils, and pastels to encourage him to continue developing his sense of creativity.
Timothy himself would show his gratitude towards his mysterious sponsor by sending him updates about school and even drawings of his home life.
Timothy had been entered into the charity’s program of sponsorship when he was just seven, along with his sister and cousins.
Bush continued writing to Timothy until his sponsorship ended when he graduated from high school.
Upon graduating in 2010, Angie Lathrop, the executive assistant to Wess Stafford who was the President of Compassion International at the time Bush was writing to Timothy, took the boy out for a celebratory meal and to reveal who his long-time pen-pal really was.
Wes Stafford himself was very fond of the former President for all of the charitable work he had done over his life, not just for Timothy in the Philippines, but for many different charities both while he served in office and after.
While he was attending Bush’s funeral service and thinking about all of the different people there and pondering the many stories and memories each had, it dawned on him that he had one that would take them all by surprise.
So, he took to Twitter on December 3rd to let the world know just how kind-hearted the man really was.
In the next few days we will hear many wonderful things about our beloved George H. W. Bush. What a remarkable man in every way! But you won’t hear some of the best…like, did you know that dear man was a Compassion sponsor?
— Wess Stafford Author (@wess_stafford) December 3, 2018
Once the letters had been leaked, the charity regrettably informed the media that they hadn’t been in contact with Timothy for many years. His friends, however, knew who this lucky Philippine boy had to be and began tagging Timothy in social media posts about the letters.
Timothy reached out to media outlets to confirm that yes, he was the pen-pal the late former President had written to all those years.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Timothy Villalba said that even though he had been told who his pen-pal was when he graduated, he had always wondered in the back of his mind if it was true.
“It was hard to believe that was a president. I didn’t’ think anymore of it after, since maybe it wasn’t true.”
The young man is now 25 and has no doubt about who his mysterious sponsor was after all of these years, and believes that he has truly been blessed through the interaction.
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Timothy continued to hone his passion for playing guitar into a profitable activity for himself.
At one point he had joined a rock band and now spends his evenings playing acoustic with a singer after his day job as an administrative assistant.
When he is not working, he comes home to spend quality time with his wife and their 3-year-old daughter. He considers himself deeply blessed by the fact that of all the sponsored children, former President George Herbert Walker Bush chose to write to him, and believes that as a result of that sponsorship and his time in the charity program, he can count his life a success.
If you would like to sponsor a child, you can make a huge difference in a family’s life by visiting Compassion International.
Source: ABS-CBN News