Dummermuth and president
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Dummermuth and president
By Rich Holm
Elgin native Matt Dummermuth and his wife, Becky, witnessed history recently when they were invited to the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. Five living U.S. presidents were in attendance.
The Dummermuths now reside in Cedar Rapids. Matt is a lawyer and Becky is a stay-at-home mom with five children. Their lives were much different before they met and later married 10 years ago.
Matt is the son of Kim and Lois Dummermuth of Elgin. Just like his father, Matt quarterbacked the Valley football team for three years before graduating in 1991.
After he received his law degree, Matt got involved in politics. He was active in the 2000 general election, helping Bush get elected. Matt was in charge of the eastern third of Iowa.
He was later appointed to the Department of Justice as a U.S. Attorney. He spent five years in Washington, D.C.
Becky, a native of Pennsylvania, was appointed to a position in the Department of Labor by Bush, and her second day of work will never be forgotten. It was Sept. 9, 2011, a day that will forever be remembered as 9-11.
She was in her office and could see the smoke pouring from the Pentagon after it was hit by an airplane. She was headed for home and passed by the Capitol, where a fourth airplane was scheduled to hit before Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.
One year later Becky was asked by President Bush to join his White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which she accepted.
She met Matt after they were introduced by a college friend of Matt’s. When their first son, Caleb, was born, Becky resigned in order to raise a family.
President and Laura Bush never forgot the Dummermuths. They receive Christmas cards every year, and six weeks ago another letter arrived. inviting them to the library dedication.
Matt said, “At first, I didn’t think we could go because of our five kids, including our twins who just turned one.
“Then family told us to go, and they would watch the kids. I’m glad we went because it was an experience we will never forget,” he added.
The Dummermuths were able to renew old acquaintances from their time in Washington and on the campaign trail.
Becky said, “Seeing the President again reminded us of how gracious he is and what a courageous leader he was. I’m now a homeschooling mom, and I don’t often think of the part I played in history when I worked in the Bush Administration.
“That’s one of the reasons we chose to attend the dedication event. It was a rare opportunity to celebratePresident Bush and his legacy.”
There is an exact replica of the Oval Office in the museum. It was in that office Becky attended meetings with the President, and shewas moved to see it again.
Becky and Matt were most proud to see the prominent place that the Faith-Based and Community Initiative took in the museum, appearing both at the beginning and later in a display of pens the President used to sign particularly significant papers.
She said, “I knew the Initiative was always important to him, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to help further religious freedom by working for him on those issues.”
The Dummermuths arrived in Dallas on Wednesday, April 24. More than 10,000 guests were there as Matt and Becky attended receptions held by the Dept. of Justice and White House staff.
Thursday was the big day when the dedication took place as the five living U.S. Presidents gathered.
Matt said, “I’ve seen photos of the five of them, but to see them all in one place live is really something. Of course, world dignitaries were in attendance also.”
That evening the Dummemuths attended a big barbeque hosted by former President Bush and his vice-president, Dick Cheney. Fireworks that evening concluded the day.
On Friday, Becky and Matt toured the library and museum. Matt has gone to similar presidential libraries of Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover, but the Bush museum was special.
“It is special to Becky and I because we worked for him,” said Matt. “There is an exhibit of 9-11 with one of the large beams from the Twin Towers on display. Becky was in D.C. the day it happened.”
The Dummermuths returned to Iowa on Saturday as Matt recalled on the flight home how he got involved in politics.
“My first political memory is when Ronald Reagan took office. Also, my parents at home instilled in me a desire to get involved in public policy and do what is best for state and country,” he related.
The Dummermuths hope to return to Dallas someday and take their children. They want to show them where their mother worked, going into the replica of the Oval Office.
There are displays from the campaign trail, especially Iowa, where the kids’ father helped get George W. Bush elected.
The Dummermuths were part of history and are proud they played small roles in George W. Bush’s time in the White House.
Matt ended, “It’s especially gratifying to be remembered by the Bushes and to receive our invitation. It was a privilege to work for him, and we encourage everyone to visit the museum and library when they have the opportunity.”
There are 13 such presidential museums in the country. Others are for Presidents Carter, Hoover, Reagan, Kennedy, Nixon, Truman, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Ford, Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.