TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As eulogies are delivered this week for the late President George H.W. Bush, the memories of his visits are rich ones for one East Texan.
“It’s a tremendous loss. But think what we need to do as a nation is really celebrate the life of George Herbert Walker Bush,” said Todd Staples, the president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
As the nation continues to honor the life and legacy of President Bush, Staples is inspired by his examples of leadership and service.
“He loved our nation and he loved it with a great deal of passion. He treated people with all walks of life with just the utmost respect," he said.
The Palestine native is a former Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Before that, he served as the District 3 State Senator, the same seat Robert Nichols holds today. He’s now president of Texas Oil and Gas Association.
He said Bush leaves behind a legacy that is felt in all corners of the world, and noticeably in the Texas oil and natural gas industry since he launched a career in the oil business.
“He found that in the Lone Star state. I hope we continue to be the kind of state that will attract the talent of people like George Herbert Walker Bush," Staples said. He adds there are two things he will always remember about him: his love for family and his love for his country.
“Just a real testament of a gracious leader and I hope we will have more like him as our state and nation grows," he said.
Staples and his wife Janet had the privilege of meeting with the former World War II hero on several occasions. He adds the former president was as genuine as they come.
“We wanted to go up and thank them for their service, for their leadership, and they really wouldn’t allow us to do that. They were thanking us for our service," he said.
The president’s years of service to the country not only impacted people he met, like Staples, but whole communities.
“He was a person that's larger than life and that's what I think about. What kind of an effort it took to develop those relationships and to utilize those in the benefit of our nation.”
Staples says the nation may have lost an American hero, but his leadership and guidance during his years of service, will always be remembered.
“All Americans regardless of your background or party affiliation can take pride in their public service, and can take pride in their contributions that they exhibited in making not only a better nation, but a better world."
Next year is Texas Oil and Gas Association’s 100th anniversary. Staples said they plan on paying tribute to the former president.