Bush funeral brings back memories of White House internship for Tallahassee man

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 5, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Many people in our area watched the funeral of President George H.W. Bush on television Wednesday.

Tallahassee resident Cory Tilley watched from a laptop in his office. Tilley was just as engaged as the people attending the funeral.

"He reached across the aisle, worked with Democrats and he treated everybody with respect," Tilley said about President Bush.

Tilley was a college intern at the White House in 1990 during Bush's presidency, and got some opportunities to work directly with the president.

"It was the experience of a lifetime," Tilley said.

During the internship, he missed his cousin's wedding in West Virginia.

"People who I worked with knew I couldn't make the wedding, so they got the president to write a letter to my cousin and her new husband, wishing them well. My brother read the letter from the president at the wedding. I figured they'd probably rather have that than me be in the wedding. So, it worked out for the better for everybody, I think," Tilley said.

Tilley says after his internship, in true fashion, President Bush mailed all of the interns a letter saying thanks for their service and hard work. He said it was short, to the point, and typical of President Bush, who was known to write personal notes.

Even those who don't have a personal connection to President Bush watched the funeral. Johnny Mendenhall took time during lunch at Andrew's Downtown to pay respects.

"I think it's a very, very nice tribute to him. He was a very honest and likable man. I like the way he presented himself," he said.

Tilley sees the ceremony as a passing of the torch for current and future leaders.

He said, "Learn lessons from how people of different generations have acted and carried themselves. We can all use a lot more civility in our politics. There's no better example of George H.W. Bush."

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