George H.W. Bush's secret, 10-year sponsorship of a Filipino child, revealed

Unbeknownst to pretty much anyone, the late George H.W. Bush had a young pen pal.

“Dear Timothy, I want to be your new pen pal,” wrote one “G. Walker” to a 7-year-old boy in the Philippines in January 2002. “I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already. I live in Texas — I will write you from time to time — Good Luck.”

Bush, who served as the 41st U.S. President from 1989 through January 1993, sponsored the boy through the nonprofit organization Compassion International, which showed some of the letters to CNN. They were verified by the White House, CNN said.

Under the program, the sponsor provides “monthly financial support, prayer and letter writing” as a way of investing directly in a child’s life to eradicate child poverty.

Bush learned about the group from an announcement made during a Christmas concert he attended in 2001, CNN reported. He asked for more information, then signed up.

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Trump, Clinton, Obama and Carter at former President George H.W. Bush's funeral
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Trump, Clinton, Obama and Carter at former President George H.W. Bush's funeral
From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral at the National Cathedral for former President George H.W. Bush, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in a State Funeral at the National Cathedral for former President George H.W. Bush, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
De izquierda a derecha, el presidente Donald Trump, la primera dama Melania Trump, el exmandatario Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, el exmandatario Bill Clinton, la ex secretaria de estado Hillary Clinton, y el exmandatario Jimmy Carter, escuchan las palabras del ex primer ministro canadiense Brian Mulroney, durante el funeral de estado del expresidente George H.W. Bush, en la Catedral Nacional en Washington, el miércoles 5 de diciembre de 2018. (AP Foto/Alex Brandon, Pool)
From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, listen as former President George W. Bush speaks during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington, for former President George H.W. Bush. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
U.S. President Donald Trump, first row from left, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, sit during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump, first row from left, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and and former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter bow their heads during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: (AFP OUT) From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter attend the state funeral of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral on December 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Bush will be buried at his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: (AFP OUT) From left, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter attend the state funeral of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral on December 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Bush will be buried at his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, from left, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, listen as Brian Mulroney, Canada's former prime minister, speaks during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Alex Brandon/Pool via Bloomberg
Former Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, right, speaks during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: (2nd Row) Vice President Mike Pence, Karen Pence, former Vice President Dan Quayle, Marilyn Quayle, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Lynne Chaney, (1st Row) President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and former Jimmy Carter applaud for former President George W. Bush after he made remarks about his father, former President George H.W. Bush, during his state funeral at the National Cathedral December 05, 2018 in Washington, DC. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President George W. Bush, second left, and former First Lady Laura Bush, from left, greet U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, and former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump, shakes hands with former US President Barack Obama,as former First Lady Michelle Obama, former US President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former US President Jimmy Carter, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter attend the state funeral of former US president George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, December 5, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, former president Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter, former first lady Rosalynn Carter attend the state funeral of former US president George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, December 5, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) US President Donald Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump; former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; former US president Bill Clinton and former US Secreatry of State Hillary Clinton; former US President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter attend the state funeral of former US president George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, December 5, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President George W. Bush, from right, greets former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, former U.S. President Bill Clinton while former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, from right, speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried through the National Cathedral as U.S. President Donald Trump, first row from left, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter stand during a state funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the longest-living president in U.S. history at age 94, died at his home in Houston on November 30. In his one term in the White House he fashioned a restrained response to the Soviet Union's collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Vice President Mike Pence (L), President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, with former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter pay their last respects as pall bearers bring in the casket of former US president George H.W. Bush during his state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, December 5, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Former president George W. Bush (C), flanked by his wife Laura (bottom L) reaches past (from L-R) US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania and former president Barack Obama to greet former first Lady Michelle Obama as US president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter look on during the funeral service former president George H.W.Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC December 5, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Out of concern for the boy’s safety, the former President’s security team wanted him to remain anonymous so that the child would not be targeted, former Compassion International president Wess Stafford told CNN. Nonetheless, Bush would drop boulder-sized hints over the years, even going so far as to send a photo of his dog, Sadie, and letting on that he’d visited the White House at Christmas.

It wasn’t until Timothy graduated high school at age 17 that he learned who his benefactor had been. Stafford said the youth was “stunned” and told Compassion International that the revelation was life-changing. They have since lost touch with him, CNN said.

"Dear Mr. & Mrs. Walker,” Timothy wrote in a letter dated 2003, just a year into their correspondence. “How are you? I hope you're in good condition. I would like to thank you for not forgetting me.”

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