By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 5, 2018
CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Crawfordville resident, who is a former middle school teacher, said the late President George H.W. Bush inspired countless Florida students with a small gesture of kindness.
"This is the letter he wrote us with an embossed stamp," said David Jonathan.
As Jonathan reminisced about his time as a teacher in Bradenton in 1991, he said President Bush took an interest in his program for troubled students. The students each wrote a letter to the President, who answered back.
"He was very interested in kids and what we were doing," he said. "I knew they would be successful by meeting someone in this statute of life."
Jonathan said he has heard from some students later in life who have said they were inspired by their interaction with the President. The Commander in Chief later delivered a community service award to Jonathan during an impromptu meeting outside of a Florida fast-food restaurant for his work with the troubled students.
"I didn't know they were going to be there in a limousine," he said. "Put the window, the hand comes out and he shakes my hand and smiles at me, out comes this (the award) and off they went."
The letter and the award are now more meaningful than ever to him.
"He wants us to celebrate his life, and I can do that now because of what he did for me as a man, and supporting my classroom and encouraging kids to succeed in the classroom," Jonathan said.
Jonathan said he was once invited to the President's Texas ranch, but ultimately could not make it after he was arrested for a crime he said he did not commit. He wrote a book about the ordeal.