Video: Pence letter made lasting impression on Columbus woman

Sometimes, it’s the little things that people do that make the biggest impression.

Columbus resident Margaret Pollert can attest. She still possesses a hand-written letter she and her late husband Raymond received more than 33 years ago thanking them for their hospitality.

The letter’s author? Mike Pence, who will be sworn in as vice president of the United States on Friday.

Pence and his younger brother Tom stayed with the Pollerts for a few days in England during 1983 while traveling through Europe. Several days after they departed, the Pollerts received the letter from Mike Pence, then 24.

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“This gives me goose pimples,” Pollert, 82, said Thursday after reading the letter again. “We’re so proud of him.”

Pollert said she and her husband and four sons first knew of the vice president-elect in the late 1960s when they lived two blocks from the Pences in the Parkside neighborhood on Columbus’ north side. Pollert’s son, Bob, was in the same 1977 graduating class as Pence at Columbus North High School.

Raymond Pollert worked for Cummins Engine Co., and the family moved from time to time because of his job. He was asked in 1980 to move to England to help with the marketing and sales of power generation equipment.

The Pollerts were living in the village of Cobham, about 17 miles southwest of London, when the Pence brothers visited.

Margaret Pollert said Mike and Tom Pence stayed for two or three days at their five-bedroom, three-bathroom house, which gave them a place to sleep, bathe and wash laundry. They also hung out with the Pollert boys.

“They came and had a good time, and they went and did things together. We were just happy to have them,” Margaret Pollert said.

A few days later the Pollerts received Mike Pence’s letter. In the letter, dated Aug. 9, 1983, Mike stated, “Well, we had a fantastic time. After all your hospitality we toured Paris, Munich, Zell am See, Austria, Nice and Rome.”

He described how fond the brothers were of the town of Zell am See in Austria, and suggested that the Pollerts go there for a vacation.

“After Thomas and I boarded the plane in London, we both sat amazed at the generosity and hospitality with which you all greeted us. Thank you so much for everything — you people are super,” Mike Pence wrote.

He then offered in the letter encouraging words to Tom Pollert, who was starting at Hanover College, and to Bob Pollert, who he said was one of the classiest people he’s known.

Margaret Pollert said the letter made a positive impression on her family.

“Not many people traveling and going all these places would take the time to write a thank-you letter to a couple. And he wrote it very well,” she said.

Raymond Pollert, who had a tendency for keeping letters and other mementos from family and friends, tucked away the letter.

“He knew that someday Mike would be a great man,” Margaret Pollert said.

Bob Pollert said it’s amazing that someone he knew from his youth would one day reach the White House.

Margaret Pollert found the letter some time after her husband’s 2002 death, and said that her sons Tom and Bob told her to hang on to it.

Pollert added that although she is a Democrat, she plans to watch the presidential inauguration ceremonies Friday with a group of friends.

“I’m really proud of Mike. Mike will do a great job and he won’t back down from what he believes in, and that’s what I like about him,” she said.

Pull Quote

“Not many people traveling and going all these places would take the time to write a thank-you letter to a couple. And he wrote it very well.”

— Columbus resident Margaret Pollert, on Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s letter to her family in 1983

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.