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Utah native who interned for Bush family remembers Barbara as ‘the enforcer’, a ‘compassionate public servant”

Posted at 6:50 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 20:50:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah native who served as an intern for the Bush family shared her favorite memories of Barbara Bush.

Catie Hinckley Kelley, a Highland High School graduate, interned for the Bush family in the summers of 2001-2003. She worked at their family compound at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Kelley spoke to Fox 13 via Facetime from her Washington D.C. home.

“I went to undergraduate college in Maine, and I wanted to stay in Maine for the summer," she said.

She reflected on the first encounter she had with Mrs. Bush.

“I met her my first day there," she recalled. "She just came into the office after swimming in her bathing suit and a swim suit cover up, and that's how she was: very grounded, very down to earth.”

Kelley witnessed firsthand why she was dubbed, “The Enforcer.”

“Everybody knew that she expected their best, and so everybody wanted to make sure they either were prepared with whatever they were going to ask about or anticipated what she might need," Kelley said.

Also, on display—her devotion to her husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush.

“They were often holding hands" Kelley said. "They sought each other out in a way that was very warm and very sweet.”

Mrs. Bush accomplished many things in her life, but Kelley says she never forgot the capability and the opportunity she had to do something for others. She was the model for generosity and public service.

“She never forgot what a special thing it was to meet her and to meet her husband," Kelley said. "She always had her digital camera with her and she would take pictures of people with her husband, or have people take pictures of her with the people she met, and then she would print these out herself and have them sent to the people that she met.”

During her internship, Kelley received a photo and handwritten note. It read: “Thanks for all your help. We will miss you. Love, George and Barbara Bush.”

“I think what I've learned from her and her husband is the importance of treating people well," Kelley said. "And never lose a personal connection with the people that you meet."

Kelley will cherish those memories and her last encounter with Mrs. Bush.

In 2014, she saw her at the airport in Maine. She was grateful Mrs. Bush got to meet her husband and young son.