Mitt Romney — life after high school
by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:
What kind of man – not teenager, but man – is Mitt Romney? Consider this episode, recounted by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman in their book The Real Romney:
It was shaping up to be a hard Christmas for Mark and Sheryl Nixon. They had recently moved their family to the Boston area. . .and didn’t know many people. And then. . .they got the kind of phone call every parent dreads. [Their sons] Rob and Reed had been driving back from a youth gathering at the Mormon meeting house. . .Shortly after leaving the parking lot, Reed lost control of the red Oldsmobile minivan. The car sideswiped a utility pole, struck two trees, and. . .flipped over. . . .In a flash, the two Nixon boys, standouts on the high school cross-country team, became quadriplegics. . . .
The family suddenly needed a major addition to their house. They needed a special van to transport their sons. Their financial and emotional burdens were vast. Shortly before the holidays. . .Mark Nixon, a professor of accounting at Bentley University outside Boston, got a call at his office. It was Mitt Romney. He said he wanted to help. Would they be home on Christmas eve?
That morning. . .the Nixons opened their door to find not just Mitt but Ann Romney and their sons. They held large boxes. Inside were a massive stereo system for Rob. . .and a VCR for Reed. They’d also brought Reed a check, not knowing what else to get him. The Romneys stayed for a while. Their sons helped set up Rob’s new stereo. “What a Christmas surprise for the boys,” Sheryl wrote in her journal at the time.
The Nixons were floored. They shared a faith with Romney but didn’t really know him – they weren’t strangers, but neither were they friends. At that point, Romney held no formal leadership position in the Mormon church. He bore no direct ecclesiastical obligation to help. . . .What impressed the Nixons more than anything was that Mitt and Ann, despite their own packed holiday calendars, made a point of delivering the gifts themselves, spending time with family, and, by bringing their children with them, leading by example. . . .
That wasn’t all. Romney had also told Mark not to worry about Rob’s or Reed’s college education; he would pay for it. The Nixons, in the end, didn’t need to help. But Romney continued to quietly lend his hand. He participated in a 5K road race and fund-raiser for Rob and Reed at Bentley the next spring. He contributed substantial financial gifts toward golf tournament fund-raisers in subsequent years. Then, in 2007, when Reed graduated from Bentley with a degree in finance. . .Romney sent him a Bentley desk clock engraved with a special message of congratulation. “It wasn’t, Mark said, a onetime thing.”