~ Mitt Romney's Stump ~

I got the following email from a friend here in the mission field.  It's self explanatory and with photos to prove it.  I think you'll find it interesting reading.  I edited and formatted the original he sent me to break it into paragraphs.  The original text is unchanged except I've deleted surnames and addresses to protect their privacy.  I also resized the photos he sent and placed them throughout the email so it looks more like a photo essay.  The story is basically unchanged.

----- Original Message -----
From: [name withheld]
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 9:16 PM
Subject: FW: Rebuilding from the fires in San Diego

This is an entry in my nephew's journal.  His neighborhood was mostly destroyed while his house was spared in the terrible fires in California.  It's interesting reading.
Darrell ...

rebuilding from the fires in San Diego
A Personal Journal Entry by [my friend's nephew],
Westwood Neighborhood ,
San Diego CA
Pictures attached

Remember that big pine tree right in the front as you walk out the front door. It pretty well got cooked in the fire. In fact Brian ..., Steve ..., Chris ... and Jeremy ... cut most of it down the first day we were allowed back in the neighborhood.
But the trunk and the stump was too much to handle that day. Last week a brother in the Del Sur ward sent me an email and said he and some others would like to do something to help. I told him that one of the things on my 'to-do' list was to remove a tree stump from my front yard, but it was a pretty big job!

He said they wanted to come and do it. I reluctantly said OK, but, 'I do not expect you to really get it out because it is a big root. It has been there for over 20 years.' So he called me to confirm and said that they were coming at 7am on Wednesday morning and his DAD might come too. I decided to go to Los Primos and get some breakfast machaca burritos and orange juice for the crew coming to work on my stump..so I was late in arriving.

I drove in from Cabela because it gives me a better feeling entering our street as none of the homes at the top of Luz Pl were burned. As I drove up I looked and saw several men down in the hole around the tree. They were really going at it with power saws provided by the LDS Church. Then I got a Big Surprise. First I saw Matt, then beside him with chain saw buzzing away was a candidate for President of the United States!!!

You guessed it!! Matt Romney was there with his DAD, 'MITT ROMNEY', former governor of Massachusetts and Republican presidential candidate. He was actually in Levi's and a blue T-shirt and tennis shoes, with leather gloves and goggles. He was really sawing away at my stump!

Others who were there working were [my] LDS Bishop, Greg ... and 6 LDS Missionaries. Oh and I almost forgot the Secret Service bodyguards were nearby standing guard. The Mormon Missionaries were there because they have been reassigned to disaster relief projects all over San Diego where the fires burned. They got assigned by their church leaders to come to our home that morning.

There were no local news media. Mitt and Matt Romney were just being good neighbors helping neighbors. Mitt was in Southern Calif for some meetings later in the day up in Riverside/San Bernardino. I can really tell that the Romney's know how to work and to work really hard. I looked over my shovel at one point and sweat was running down Mitt's face. When I suggested we stop for a breakfast burrito, I got a polite 'maybe later, gotta get this root out.'

Mitt told me that this reminded him of taking out a stump on the ranch with his father. After it was too much his Dad (George Romney) said get some dynamite! Well, Mitt attacked that old stump, cutting as many of the big roots as he could until it was well time past for he and Matt to leave for their meetings up north. I put a Machaca burrito in Mitts hand and a glass of O.J. I could tell he didn't like leaving the job partially completed and neither did Matt. But I knew they had 'bigger stumps' elsewhere that day.

Just before he left , those missionaries showed up. This is where faith takes over. God is always a partner in a good act of service I believe. Well, you know how believing Mormon Missionaries are. So these six Elders from the Carlsbad California Mission said, "... WE WILL GET THIS STUMP OUT." (You can tell these young men understand the principle of determination.) All were dressed wearing their special disaster relief yellow T-shirts, provided by the church.

It was an inspiring sight to see this' mass of yellow' wielding ax, pick and shovel on this stump. About this time a policeman patrolling the neighborhood pulled up. The Officer took one look at the stump and the tools and said, 'you fellows will need more than those to get that one out'. A missionary responded..'that stump is coming out for sure'. The Officer gave encouragement using the indirect method.., 'Do you really think you can do it. I am not so sure.' The 'challenge was laid down' - then Officer Smith left and the Mormons went to work.

No slackers among them. Later Officer Smith came back to check on progress. And there was plenty of it, but still there was a ways to go. He said spoke to some other officers about the stump project on Luz Pl and could those Mormon boys get it out. Then the suggestion was made that maybe we could get a skip loader in the area to lend some assistance. A great idea! After the officer left I did observed a tractor going down a nearby street and flagged the driver down.

He said he would come over later. He only had a limited time. Those Mormon Missionaries continued to hack away (I forgot. Missionaries are not allowed to use power saws for safety reasons, so this was ALL pick and ax). They finally girded the stump completely. The tractor came back as promised. He got way up under the root because the Missionaries did such a good job clearing out around the base of the root.

I watched as smiles, then cheers went up from all as that big old pine tree stump popped out of its hole. THEY DID IT! As the hole was being filled back in, Officer Smith drove back up. He came over to the filled hole a little amazed. 'Where is it he asked?' I think I heard one of the Elders say, 'Officer Smith, you should have been here 10 minutes ago. The heavens opened up... a light came down, and that big old stump was taken up!

Everybody laughed. Well this is what I have to say, Mitt and Matt Romney, Jim ..., Greg ... and those Missionaries efforts were fully rewarded. After all they could do, the Lord was not going to let their efforts go unrewarded. The tractor man came about the time the stump was prepared for removal. This we must all remember. Out of small things proceeded that which is great! This was a memorable day for all of us.

~ END ~