Romney’s silent acts of service are a recurring theme in the 2012 book “The Real Romney” by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, investigative reporters for The Boston Globe. Readers get a sense of Romney as a person of accomplishment, and also as a person in service to others.
One instance that highlights Romney’s style of silent charity is Joey’s Park, a playground named in memory of Joey O’Donnell, who died of cystic fibrosis and was the son of a Romney neighbor. Romney led the effort to build the park as well as its upkeep. “There he was with a hammer, a Mitt nobody sees,” Joseph O’Donnell, the father of the late boy, told the authors of “The Real Romney.” After the construction, Romney returned with a local Boy Scout troop to ensure that the memorial was maintained. “He did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, ‘We did this,’ without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.”
Romney the firefighter
As the president of his local Mormon stake, Romney had a reputation for helping fellow neighbors in their time of need. On Super Bowl Sunday 1989 the house of Douglas Anderson, a member of the same church as Romney, caught fire. While Anderson and his family made it out safely, all their possessions were left to the fate of the flames inside. A short time after the blaze began, Romney, who lived nearby, showed up and directed a salvage effort with several fellow church members. “They saved some important things and Mitt was the general in charge of it,” Anderson said. Romney and his crew ran in and out of the involved structure until the firemen arrived and stopped them. “Literally, they were finally kicked out when the firemen were bringing in their hoses,” Anderson explained.