“I know you’ll walk the seven miles and the enclosed is to help the cause you are serving. God bless you.”
In 1986, a young girl named Lisa committed to doing a walk-a-thon to raise money for the homeless, something that was important to her. In doing so, she wrote the most unlikely of potential supporters, the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan. Of course, she had little reason to expect she would receive a response, let alone a donation. The date of the walk, sponsored by the San Fernando Board of Realtors, was to be September 27, 1986.
Reagan came to office in 1981 with a mandate to reduce federal spending, and he slashed funds for many domestic program. Reagan was accused of indifference or even callousness to the needy and homeless. But Reagan remained personally moved by the situations of individual people who were suffering. We can see the proof of this here: a letter and check indicating that he very much approved of private organizations and individuals aiding the needy, and was willing to contribute financially to their success. This is a remarkable demonstration that a citizen could write directly to President Reagan and receive a thoughtful and supportive response.
Autograph letter signed as president, on White House letterhead, August 26, 1986, to Lisa, whose last name we withhold to respect her privacy. “Dear Lisa, I am very proud to sponsor you in the walkathon. Thank you for asking. I know you’ll walk the seven miles and the enclosed is to help the cause you are serving. God bless you. Ronald Reagan.” A copy of a newspaper clipping from the Los Angeles Times about this letter, dated September 17, 1986, is included.
Reagan ALSs as President are extremely uncommon, and a search of sale records from the start of his presidency shows only about a half-dozen in all that time. None of them contain this kind of content, reflecting directly on Ronald Reagan in an important way.
With the letter is the original Check signed, August 26, 1986, on his Personal Account, Bank of America, drawn to S.F.V.B.R, for $50, the memo listed as “Contribution”. A search of public sale records and other private venues has failed to turn up any other Reagan checks signed as President having reached the market, making this an extraordinary rarity.
This group, obtained directly from Lisa and never before offered for sale, sheds positive light on Ronald Reagan the man. It is evocative of Reagan the man and the President and of historical importance.