The number on the front of his mountain bike says it all – 43. Once again The Great Man has surfaced, this time to bike Palo Duro Canyon, outside of Amarillo with a few injured warriors. (FYI – Palo Duro Canyon is beautiful!)
Like one of the wounded warriors with him noted, as a former President he could be out making lots of money doing speaking engagements. Instead he was with them!
“…Like other veterans, McNaughton said he was heartened by Bush manning his bike when he could have been collecting hefty fees from speeches instead.
“He is a former president now; he could do a lot of things,” McNaughton said. “He could make a lot of money just on speaking engagements, but he’s always been athletic, he always wanted to do stuff and when you combine it with his love of the military, it’s really nice.”..”
Try and spot former POTUS in there is no glamor, no world leaders, no expensive suit. Just a former POTUS doing what is right, being the perfect former POTUS, the same way he was the perfect POTUS.
That’s why he is such a Great Man.
“…A few steps away, Melissa Stockwell, 32, changed into a prosthetic leg with an American flag design at the top of it. The retired Army first lieutenant lost her left leg a little more than eight years ago — April 13, 2004 — when an improvised explosive device exploded near Baghdad.
Stockwell of Chicago has continued a mission, in a sense. She swam in the 2008 Paralympics in China and is a two-time world champion in sprint triathlons for paraplegic athletes. Through all of this, she considers herself fortunate.
“Early on I accepted the loss of my leg, and that helped me immensely,” she said. “I had three good limbs. I’ve seen some who are missing two or three limbs. I consider myself fairly lucky to only be missing one.”
Bush, behind lead and admittedly nervous cyclist Darren Jenks of Amarillo, finished the trail ride about 3:30 p.m., a little under two hours. For someone who’s 65, and will be riding 29 miles Friday morning and 20 on Saturday, that’s head-shaking impressive.
But even that has to take a backseat — figuratively at least — to the 20 riders from 13 states who came streaming in not far behind him.
“Riding with these veterans is an uplifting experience,” Bush said afterward. “It’s an awesome feeling and an honor to be here with them.”…”
This is just a few hours from where The Pink Flamingo resides. Truth of the matter, if I’d been near The Great Man, I just would have stood there, bawling, making a fool out of myself, stammering as I tried to tell him how great he is and how much I’ve prayed for him.
“…The 20 were lined up next to each other Thursday in the parking lot of the Mack Dick Pavilion at Palo Duro Canyon. This time, no military uniforms, just cycling gear. Around 1:20 p.m., a caravan of SUVs pulled into the lot, and former President George W. Bush, once their commander-in-chief, began to make his way down the line, shaking their hands, engaging in small talk with each of the 20 who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Four lost legs, including Marine Sgt. Maj. Chris Self from larksville, Tenn., who was the last in the receiving line.
“You’re looking good. You’re looking fit,” Bush said.
“So are you, sir,” Self said. “I hope I’m as fit as you are.”
“Oh, you are,” he said. “I can tell. You are.”
After the national anthem, Bush let loose with a “Let’s ride.” And ride these fit cyclists did. Most would determinedly ride their bikes through trails on the first leg of the three-day Bush Center Warrior 100K, part of the Military Service Initiative of the George W. Bush Presidential Center….”
I fear we will never see his likes again.