Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Unsung Service – the Mitt Way

Back in November 2007 Mitt Romney was making campaign stops in California, where his son Matt lives in Rancho Bernardo. Matt was taking him on a morning tour of the devastation from the recent wildfires, and ended up at his friend's house, which had sustained damage. From Matt Romney's blog:
I’ve been helping a friend of mine, Reed, whose house sustained damage in the fire. We’ve been working on removing a stump from a big tree in his front yard that burned down. My dad joined me and a few others (my co-worker, Greg, my uncle, Jim, and Reed) to put some more work into it.
No press. No news release. Just three unsung hours of hard labor for his son's friend before heading to an interview with Carl Cameron. And a short entry on a blog.

It's certainly not something worth campaigning on. But it does speak volumes to the character of the man in question.

(BTW, I was forwarded an email from the recipient of this service project, along with pictures. I'll post them as soon as I get permission to do so.)

Got permission from the homeowner to post his email, given that I emphasize that it wasn't a staged media event. Here is an excerpt:

Remember that big pine tree right in the front as you walk out the front door? It pretty well got cooked in the fire. In fact Brian Brockbank, Steve Chidester, Chris Odenwalder and Jeremy Dixon cut most of it down the first day we were allowed back in the neighborhood. But the trunk and the stump was too much to handle that day. Last week a brother in the Del Sur ward sent me an email and said he and some others would like to do something to help. I told him that one of the things on my 'to- do' list was to remove a tree stump from my front yard, but it was a pretty big job! He said they wanted to come and do it. I reluctantly said OK, but, 'I do not expect you to really get it out because it is a big root. It has been there for over 20 years.' So he called me to confirm and said that they were coming at 7am on Wednesday morning and his DAD might come too. I decided to go to Los Primos and get some breakfast machaca burritos and orange juice for the crew coming to work on my I was late in arriving.

I drove in from Cabela because it gives me a better feeling entering our street as none of the homes at the top of Luz Pl were burned. As I drove up I looked and saw several men down in the hole around the tree. They were really going at it with power saws provided by the LDS Church . Then I got a Big Surprise. First I saw Matt Romney, then beside him with chain saw buzzing away was a candidate for President of the United States !!! You guessed it!! Matt Romney was there with his DAD, 'MITT ROMNEY', former governor of Massachusetts and republican presidential candidate. He was actually in Levi's and a blue T shirt and tennis shoes, with leather gloves and goggles.

He was really sawing away at my stump! Others who were there working were LDS Bishop Jim Davies, Greg Davis and 6 LDS Missionaries. Oh and I almost forgot the Secret Service bodyguards were nearby standing guard. The Mormon Missionaries were there because they have been reassigned to disaster relief projects all over San Diego where the fires burned. They got assigned by their leaders to come to our home at 11372 Luz Place that morning. There were no local news media. Mitt and Matt Romney were just being good neighbors helping neighbors.

Mitt was in Southern Calif for some meetings later in the day up in Riverside/San Bernardino. I can really tell that the Romney's know how to work and to work really hard. I looked over my shovel at one point and sweat was running down Mitt's face. When I suggested we stop for a breakfast burrito, I got a polite 'maybe later, gotta get this root out.' Mitt told me that this reminded him of taking out a stump on the ranch with his father. After it was too much his Dad (George Romney) said get some dynamite! Well, Mitt attacked that old stump, cutting as many of the big roots as he could until it was well time past for he and Matt to leave for their meetings up north.
And a couple photos that came with the email:

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