Long Island entrepreneur with Down syndrome donated socks to George H.W. Bush for wife's funeral

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Kristin Thorne reports on the local backstory behind George H.W. Bush's commemorative socks for his late wife Barbara Bush.

Former President George H.W. Bush paid tribute to his wife's literacy legacy by wearing socks with books on them to her funeral last weekend. The socks were a gift from a young Long Island entrepreneur with Down syndrome.

John Cronin, 22, is the co-founder -- or what he likes to call "Chief Happiness Officer" -- of John's Crazy Socks, based in Melville.

The company, founded in 2016, sells tens of thousands of pairs of socks around the world every year. Half its workforce - 15 people - are those with special needs, and 5 percent of all proceeds are donated to the Special Olympics.

Last year, Cronin sent a box of colorful socks to the former president after learning about his penchant for fun socks. Bush sent a letter of thanks to Cronin and asked for more.

In March, on World Down Syndrome Day, Bush tweeted a photo wearing a pair of Cronin's self-designed Down syndrome awareness superhero socks. He thanked Cronin in the tweet.

Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990.

After Barbara Bush died, the Bush family reached out to Cronin and asked if he had some socks the family could wear on the day of the funeral. Cronin sent several pairs, including the book socks, with a letter of condolences.

"I feel sad for President Bush, but I feel happy that he wore my socks," Cronin said. "I want him to feel happy."

Cronin's father and the company's co-founder, Mark Cronin, said they found out while they were on the road that Bush wore the socks. Bush's spokesperson had tweeted out a photo.

"We were both in tears and at the same time incredibly moved that we could do something for the president at that time," Mark Cronin said.

John's Crazy Socks will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the book socks to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

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societygeorge h.w. bushdown syndromefuneralspecial olympicsbarbara bushSuffolk CountyMelvilleNew York
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