MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota soldier is among the veterans featured in a new book by former President George W. Bush.
“Portraits of Courage” features dozens of wounded veterans who’ve served our country since 9/11.
Scott Adams, of St. Bonifacius, is one of the 66 military servicemen and women in the book.
As Adams and his wife, Susie, scroll through the book’s pages, they take painstaking care not to rip or smudge them.
“Something you really don’t want to ruin,” Adams said.
Every page in the book contains the story of a veteran overcoming the challenges of injury and war. Each story is personalized and painted by the former president, who took up the hobby after leaving office.
“It means he put his sweat and time into making sure he created something he wanted to relay to us, that he cared and that we touched him as much as he touched our lives,” Adams said. “I probably know 80 percent of the people in this book.”
Adams’ tie to war heroes featured in the book began 10 years ago while on his sixth tour of duty overseas. In 2007, he was serving in Iraq.
“We hit two anti-tank mines lined with white phosphorous,” Adams said.
The roadside bomb left broken bones and burns to 90 percent of his body. Recovery in the hospital took nearly 19 months.
His survival story caught the attention of the former president when the two met in 2014 at a golf tournament for injured veterans.
“He is a very down to earth, humble person,” Adams said.
He knew the two hit it off. A photographer captured a picture of the former president jokingly bumping his belly against Adams’.
“Ever since then he’s called me “biggin” because I have broad shoulders and I’m kind of a big guy,” Adams said.
What he didn’t realize is the impression he left on the president until he got a letter saying he would be included in Bush’s new book.
“I think he did a great job,” Adams said.
“For him to remember specific things about him, it’s really amazing,” added Susie Adams.
Page 35 is dedicated to Adams’ story, hand-painted portrait and all.
“They caught him well. He’s a talker, his mouth is open,” Susie Adams said.
Adams always considered himself an open book, never realizing a former commander-in-chief took his words to heart.
“It’s helping our generation of veterans, because we’re telling our stories,” Adams said.
The president’s portraits are hanging in an exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.
Adams and his wife plan to fly there this May to see these paintings in person.