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BRUSH WITH FAME: Presidential appreciation

Barbara and George HW Bush, Joy Miller

LEFT: Barbara and George H.W. Bush with Sadie in front of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station. Courtesy photo. RIGHT: Joy Miller of Burnet. Staff photo

By The Picayune reader Joy Miller

While working for Texas A&M Emergency Services Training Institute, I assisted in hosting the annual conference for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. We had several sessions scheduled in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, located on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.

During a closed-door session, I was asked to stand outside the room to prevent anyone from entering. All was quiet. Suddenly, I heard the click-click of a woman’s high heels coming down the staircase across from where I was standing guard. I looked up to see former first lady Barbara Bush coming down the stairs. When she reached the bottom, she came over to me and smiled warmly. 

“Hi, welcome to our conference center,” she said. “May I help you?”

I introduced myself and explained what I was doing and the group I was with. 

“Oh, you’re with the important people,” she responded. “I’m just here to listen to a speech in the auditorium. I better get in there. So nice to meet you, and if you need anything, just let us know.” 

No sooner had she left when I heard more noise coming down the staircase, this time a group of men talking as they descended. It was former President Bush and former Vice President Dan Quayle. President Bush smiled, came over to me, and asked how I was doing.

Introducing myself, I thanked him for letting us use the conference center and making all our international fire chiefs feel so welcome. 

He thanked me for what I did, too!

Joy Miller moved to Lake Buchanan in February 2020 from College Station but has a history in the Highland Lakes. She and her husband, who has since died, lived in the area until 1995. Joy taught at Burnet Middle School while her husband worked as the psychologist at Buckner Boys Ranch in the 1980s. The couple’s two sons graduated from Burnet High School. 

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Here is Joy Miller’s “Brush with Fame.”