By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) – There are many in Colorado who knew and served with former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Among them, former Colorado state legislator and later U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Sam Zakhem.
He proudly showed off a statue of Bush to CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
“He got one and I got one for liberation of Kuwait,” Zakhem said pointing out the inscription “bold vision.”
Zakhem’s time with George H.W. Bush dates back to 1969 and fills many years in between.
“George H.W. Bush was a very warm and kind human being,” Zakhem recalled.
Zakhem was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain by Ronald Reagan. Then Bush kept him on when taking over as President.
“Quite an honor. I was so happy. The Bahraini’s were so happy,” Zakhem said going through the pictures he cherishes.
Bush came to Denver and met with Zakhem after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and touched off the first Gulf War.
“This says ‘To my friend Sam Zakhem with best wishes to a great ambassador.'”
The Iraqis were banished from Kuwait, but George Bush would only serve as 41st president for one term.
Sallinger asked, “Were you disappointed when he failed to win re-election?
“Yes I was,” Zakhem replied.
He later had legal problems, but was acquitted by a jury in less than an hour.
“Mr. Bush called me when I was exonerated he said ‘Sam, congratulations, I never doubted that the truth would come out.'”
Now the man Zakhem so respected and served has passed at age 94.
“I think he was an example of what a true, honest, good leader is and should be.”