Thirty-three years ago this month, I left my position as tour manager of The Cleveland Orchestra and Concerts Director of Blossom Music Center to join the John Glenn Presidential Campaign in Washington, D.C. A few weeks later, I was promoted onto Senator Glenn’s campaign plane, where I literally had a front row seat for many displays of his character, as well as Annie’s class and caring nature.
Once during the campaign, I was in that front row as, midair, Senator Glenn strode to the cockpit after our plane almost hit the control tower during a failed landing attempt at snowy, dark Sioux City Airport, took over the plane’s controls and safely landed our charter aircraft that carried dozens of our nation’s leading journalists and staff – an act of courage and skill that he never boasted about, that night or any time thereafter.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of The Columbus Foundation three years ago, Senator Glenn wrote us – all of us – the following letter, which we are proud to share as the world celebrates the legacy of this great American hero.
Please see the letter below.
President and CEO
The Columbus Foundation
Congratulations to all who have made the growth and success of The Columbus Foundation possible over these seventy years.
There is much to commend you for as you have nurtured this valuable community organization to its significance and prominence.
There is an old quote that I fully believe: “If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I’ve accomplished something.” You are doing that, as evidenced by your commitment to the work of The Columbus Foundation, and as you share this conviction about our responsibility for creating opportunities for all.
Annie and I have been proud to make Columbus our home for a long time now, and I know that Columbus wouldn’t be the spirited and positive place that it is today were it not for the work of The Columbus Foundation and the generosity of the thousands of people who have supported its work over these seven decades.
You have our best wishes for an even more important future, and, to that end, I offer this paraphrase of a comment made to me years ago by my fellow astronaut, then mission controller, Scott Carpenter, as I launched in Friendship 7, “Godspeed, Columbus Foundation!”
Senator John Glenn