By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and executive director of a youth group called Provider Pals, visited Bush in the White House in early May to receive one of the first Preserve America presidential awards, reports McCaslin. Vincent stood with the other award recipients when Bush passed down the line, exchanging handshakes. But when Vincent said, "Thank you, Mr. President. God bless you and your family," Bush pulled up short, turned back to Vincent, and said, "Thank you, and God bless you and yours, as well." Vincent then asked the president to remember his stepmother, who was at that moment having a tumor removed from her skull in a Montana hospital. Taking Vincent by the arm and leading him back to his desk, Bush said, "So that's it. I could tell that something is weighing heavy on your heart today. I could see it in your eyes. This explains it."
The two then discussed the importance of family and prayer. As Vincent recalled it to McCaslin: "He said, 'If it's OK with you, we'll take care of the prayer right now. Would you pray with me?' I told him yes, and he turned to the staff that remained in the office and hand-motioned the folks to step back or leave. He said, 'Bruce and I would like some private time for a prayer.'
"As they left, he turned back to me and took my hands in his. I was prepared to do a traditional prayer stance, standing with each other with heads bowed. Instead, he reached for my head with his right hand and, pulling gently forward, he placed my head on his shoulder.
"With his left arm on my midback, he pulled me to him in a prayerful embrace. He started to pray softly. I started to cry. He continued his prayer for Loretta [his stepmother] and for God's perfect will to be done. I cried some more. My body shook a bit as I cried, and he just held tighter. He closed by asking God's blessing on Loretta and the family during the coming months."