DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Robert Caltabiano says he’ll always remember former President George H.W. Bush for his humility.
Caltabiano was part of a team of agents who protected the president when he would travel during his re-election campaign in 1992.
He was also part of the permanent security detail for the former president and former first lady Barbara Bush from 1997 through most of 2000.
Caltabiano said, “During the holidays, on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, while he was in the White House, while they were out of the White House, they never left the residence. They would stay there on the holiday, and the reason why was because they didn’t want us, the Secret Service, and other people to have to travel and go away from or families. That tells you a lot about who they are.”
He remembers being with Mr. Bush after his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station opened.
Caltabiano said he and the former President were walking in a wooded area behind a pond that would become the final resting place for Mr. Bush, wife Barbara, and their daughter Robin, who died at the age of three.
“He stops, and he’s looking up and around and he goes to me and says ‘Bobby, isn’t this just beautiful?’ And I was young, and I’m thinking to myself it’s not that beautiful, you’re going to be buried here. And I instinctively turned around and said to him ‘Mr. President, not on my watch – you have a long time yet left with us.’ And he just started laughing and we just took that in.”
After nearly four years with the Bushes, Caltabiano said he received a new assignment.
His last day came several months before the November 2000 election, when Texas Gov. George W. Bush ran forpresident.
Caltabiano said he met with the former president in his office and told him, “‘I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to be there with you, if and when your son becomes president’ and he looks at me and tears started coming out of his eyes. He was that type of man and he walks over and he gives me a hug. And I gave him a hug.”