A Huntington man with Down syndrome played a small part to help former President George H.W. Bush honor his late wife at her funeral last week.
John Cronin, 22, sells socks through his Melville-based company, John’s Crazy Socks. Bush’s office contacted the company last week, requesting a pair of socks covered in books for the former president to wear in tribute to Barbara Bush’s commitment to literacy, according to Cronin’s father, Mark Cronin.
John’s Crazy Socks rush-delivered a pair of socks designed with stacks of books on them to Bush’s Houston office in time for the funeral Saturday. The Melville company sells the accessory, which is made by ModSock, a company based in Washington state, Mark Cronin said.
Bush was photographed wearing the pair on Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
“I felt sad for President Bush, but I felt happy that President Bush wore my socks,” John Cronin said. “I wanted him to be happy.”
The 41st president is actually a repeat customer. Bush wore a pair of socks designed by Cronin for World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. Bush later tweeted a photo of himself in the socks, which have a superhero printed on them.
The Cronins started the company in 2016 to “show what can happen when you give people a chance,” Mark Cronin said. They’ve since expanded to 33 employees, including 15 with “differing abilities.”
Mark Cronin said he’s glad that in this small way, he and his son were able to help the president who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.
“It’s touching that a former president is connected with John in this way,” Mark Cronin said.
Barbara Bush died April 17 at age 92. The former first lady championed literacy during her husband’s time in office, and in 1989 founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She was motivated to choose the cause by her son Neil Bush’s dyslexia.
For every pair of book-themed socks it sells, John’s Crazy Socks will donate $2 to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Mark Cronin said.