SAN ANTONIO — Robert Marbut teaches government at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. He met his dear friend, to many know as Gen. Colin Powell, during his time as a White House Fellow in the '80s.
“General Powell made me feel like the most important person on planet Earth” Marbut said.
It’s a feeling he gave to many he interacted with, Marbut said.
“The very first time I met him was when he came to speak to our class and I was fortunate to be the one to introduce him."
Marbut said Powell was the type of person who knew how to get the most out of everyone around him.
“He was tough. If you talk to anyone in his chain of command, he had high expectations and he wanted you to work hard to get to those expectations, but you wanted to do it with him," he said. "This wasn’t extra work; it was, 'I want to be better for him.'"
Marbut says it wasn’t until he attended Powell’s wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier last week that he realized just how many people the former U.S. secretary of state touched personally.
"Over and over I was running into people who said, 'He was the critical person who helped me get my promotion.' 'He was the critical person who called me during my divorce.' 'He was the person who helped keep me in my Ph.D. program."
He says one thing people didn’t know about Powell was that he was also quite the prankster.
"He just always made you feel so special," Marbut said.
Marbut says in the end he thinks Powell will be remembered for what he always set out to do: Unite.
"He's the type of person who touched so many people that he's going to live inside of us."