My VIP for this week is Ross Perot because I recently heard a story that changed my opinion of him. Perot ran for President of the United States as a third-party candidate in 1992. Exit polls showed that he drew supporters equally from President George H. W. Bush and Governor Bill Clinton. I still blame him for the fact that Clinton won the election.
I had such a bad idea of the man known as Ross Perot that I was surprised at a recent news story about him. Perot recently died, and Rick Perry said it was time for him to tell this story. Apparently he was known for his “love of country, larger-than-life personality and generosity,” but I knew nothing about him except he messed up the election.
As Governor of Texas, Perry says that he had “the honor and privilege” of knowing many “warriors” who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and came home wounded. One of those heroes was U.S. Army Cpl. Alan Babin Jr. He was serving as a medic in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq in 2003 when he was shot in his abdomen while tending a fallen comrade. Along with his “long and difficult recovery” from his war wounds, Alan’s recovery was “complicated by the onset of meningitis and a stroke-induced coma.” He is “confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.”
One year after the injury, Perry visited with Rosie, Alan’s mother, and asked what he could do to help. She spoke of her desire to take Alas home, but she could not figure out how to transport him to his many medical visits. Perry called Ross Perot.
The next morning Perot called Rosie and “made arrangements for his plane to pick up the Babins in Austin and fly them to Dallas” where Alan could be treated by “leading neurologists at Zale Lipshy University Hospital.” Perot was at the hospital to meet the Babins. He gave Rosie “a key to a hotel across the street” from the hospital where she could stay close to Alan.
When Rosie went home for her daughter’s prom, Perot visited privately with Alan and kept him from being alone. Three weeks later Rosie and Alan were taken home to Austin in Perot’s plane. There they found “a fully customized luxury conversion van equipped with a wheelchair lift” in their driveway. Perot told Rosie, “One phone call is all you ever need to make if you need anything. Now, I want you to focus on Alan.”
In 2005 Perot flew the Babins to Washington, D.C. in order for Alan to return to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Perot “arranged for a private ambulance to pick him up on the tarmac and transport him to the hospital.”
Perry told us about Alan but said that there are “untold others [Perot] quietly helped.
It seems that there is usually another story besides the ones carried by the mainstream media.
I am grateful for the opportunity to know the real Ross Perot, and I am sorry that I carried bad feelings about him for so many years.