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George Bush stopped in Medina on way to White House

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    A crowd gathers in the square as then-Vice President George Bush campaigns for president in Medina in 1988.

    GAZETTE FILE

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    The front page of the Saturday, Oct. 8, 1988, edition of The Gazette shows George Bush campaigning for president in Medina.

    GAZETTE FILE

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Following the death of former President George H.W. Bush at 94-years-old, Medina County residents remember well the time of the then -vice president’s 1988 Medina campaign stop.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell said he was working as a patrolman with the Medina Police Department during Bush’s visit, which included a stump speech on the courthouse steps.

“I was up there; I was assigned with the Secret Service for the inner perimeter,” Hanwell said Monday. “We had kind of an orange fenced off area and the folks that were coming into that area were kind of half-patted down with our hands and we also had a metal detector.”

Hanwell said a perimeter was set up around the courthouse steps where Bush spoke and people lined up beyond the Uptown Park gazebo and along storefronts to catch a glimpse of the man vying to become the next president of the United States.

“There were still people over beyond the gazebo and along the storefronts and everything else trying to get a glimpse or hear or see what was going on,” Hanwell said.

Les Hotchkiss, 89, of Medina, said Monday that his entire family went to Uptown Park to hear Bush speak.

“It was probably a couple thousand people in the square and I got a color picture I bought,” Hotchkiss said.

Hotchkiss said in the wake of the former president’s passing Friday, that he noticed television news outlets were mentioning Bush’s visits to Cleveland and Akron, but the 1988 Medina campaign stop seemed to be forgotten.

Attorney Steve Brown of Medina said he was one of the thousands of people that came to see Bush speak.

“The vice president of the United States spoke on the steps of the old courthouse. It was really, really cool,” Brown said.

Brown said Bush represented one of the last of the World War II generation of leaders, and America should remember him for his service to the country.

“I think his son said it best, he was a man of the greatest character,” Brown said.

Hanwell said it seemed that Bush was always interested in doing as much as he could for others both as a public servant and private citizen.

“It is always sad to hear of the passing of a public servant with such dedication and commitment to his country,” Hanwell said. “His military service, he served in a variety of federal positions, including Congress before being elected president and both during his public service and after just seemed to be somebody that really cared about people and wanted to do all he could be it public service or just as a private person to help people out.”

Bush will be laid to rest at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Houston alongside his late wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year, and the couple’s late daughter Robin Bush.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.


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