Local Men Recall Meeting President George H.W. Bush

Local Men Recall Meeting President George H.W. Bush

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A boat ride with George H.W. Bush was no joke for Tim Damon.

"Bam, bam, bam, hitting waves. It was like a wild man," said Damon.

About 15 years ago, the Potsdam resident was invited up to the Bush property in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The former president wanted to say thank you after Damon built him a custom fly fishing rod.

"We didn't talk politics at all, it was strictly fishing, and strictly fly fishing," said Damon.

Damon still holds on to a hand-written letter he received from the president following their meeting.

Bush's love for fly-fishing and other sports was well-known as was his love of service to the community which led to the coining of this phrase on the 1988 campaign trail: "Like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky."

The phrase led to the Points of Light Foundation which the president created to encourage and celebrate volunteerism.

The foundation is how Mark Pacilio of Sackets Harbor came to meet the president.

"He was such a gentleman and almost a grandfather figure," said Pacilio.

On September 9, 1991, Pacilio and other members of a Delaware organization were given the "Daily Point of Light Award" for work with teens in a maximum security juvenile detention center.

It was the 557th one awarded, according the letter they received from Bush. To date, more than 6,000 have been awarded. 

Pacilio remembers his meeting with the president fondly.

"Just a warm person. He sincerely wanted to know about what that program did," he said.

President Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visitation from Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service will follow at Washington National Cathedral before his casket returns to Houston for burial.

George H.W. Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94.

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