Bill Richardson at Thelander home – 9-13-07

Photos from Gov. Bill Richardson’s visit to my mother’s home in Onawa, IA

September 13, 2007

New Mexico Governor and Presidential candidate Bill Richardson knew he’d found an “uncommon” supporter in my stepfather, Earl Thelander (a lifelong republican), and when Earl suffered third-degree burns in an Aug. 28, 2007 explosion caused by copper thieves, Gov. Richardson made attempts to contact him at Clarkson’s Burn Unit in Omaha, NE. My stepdad, however, was kept in a medically induced coma due to pain from the severity of burns.

Though my stepfather succumbed to the burns and died Sept. 1, Gov. Richardson still wanted to know more about this man. On Sept. 13, 2007 — one week after Dad Earl’s funeral and the day following my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis — Gov. Richardson met privately with my mom and family in my mother’s home.

In that unhurried and wonderful afternoon, with no media nor any cameras present (except mine), we told a Democrat named Bill all about a Republican named Earl and, in the process, discovered the many common threads that connected this good man to another he’d never met.

Read my story about that day here.

* NOTE: Click any image for larger slideshow with photo descriptions.

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