HOUSTON - Sam Olivares, 52, was only in his 20s when he was a driver in the motorcade for former President George H.W. Bush.
He used to work at a car dealership, and through a connection, he was invited to join the motorcade whenever the president was in Houston.
This volunteer opportunity lasted three years, and he treasures the experiences he had driving for the presidential staff and Cabinet, which included Marlin Fitzwater and Jim Brady.
Sometimes the president would land at Ellington Field or at the Houston Polo Grounds, Olivares said.
Because of his encounters with Bush and the presidential staff, he collected quite a few mementos over the years, which Olivares said he would treasure for life.
One of those was a letter thanking him for his service. He even had that letter framed.
"That letter meant the world to me," Olivares said.
Other items he received and collected are Christmas cards from the White House and even an invitation to the inauguration.
He was sad to hear Bush died, but he also said he expected it would happen due to Bush's declining health and the recent death of former first lady Barbara Bush.
Olivares said Bush left behind an amazing legacy and that he really enjoyed how the president and first lady treated others.
"They were low-key, normal people when they were around you," Olivares said.
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