Skip to comments.T.R. Hughes Rally in O'Fallon, Missouri
Posted on 09/01/2008 8:38:15 AM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
Many of you have commented on how does one merit a Christmas card from the White House. Some of you have commened upon how do you get involved in the campaign. A few of FR readers have commented upon you lack of enthusiasm for the candidates we have. Let me report my experience after eight and a half hours in the hot Missouri sun from one of the greatest outpourings of support for the GOP I have witnessed in approximately 50 years of being involved in politics.
I know many who might comment that I was a slacker for the first seven years of my life, but from the moment I left my wheelchair at age seven, my mother never let me forget that I owe my country something. Under her tutilage, I learned volunteerism and what it takes to make it happen for our nation.
Hubby and I stood in line for three hot, sticky hours to get VIP tickets (well, he stood in line and I started putting together yard signs for the GOP candidates here locally and nationally). That was a week and a half ago. I also signed us up to work the T. R. Hughes Rally in O'Fallon. He was a Mitt Romney supporter and I favored Fred Thompson (made for interesting discussions at home). Fred dropped out, and I turned my support to Governer Romney. We supported his campaign. At local events, I walked in and went to work assembling -- you got it -- yard signs. I never got to hear the speeches, as I was working. Instead, I talked to the press, local candidates, political hacks from the party -- if I talked at all.
Yesterday, we walked in and, although we signed up a week and a half in advance, our names were not yet on the volunteer roster. They issued us badges and had no assignments for us. We were "unassigned" volunteers. I didn't let that stop me. I saw needs, I went to work -- thankfully, the yard signs were already assembled, although after 8 and a half hours, my 59 year-old bones were creaking and I was moving slowly, at best.
Here's the background. We were "hoping" for 8 to 10 thousand at the rally (we got 23,000+). Our instructions were to make sure noone passed out from lack of hydration or medical attention. The needs of the people supercede any other consideration. We were to watch for any suspicious behavior and contact the Secret Service. We were issued badges and put to work. We were assigned to the bucket brigade (water to the people). No bottles, no umbrellas for shade, no nothin' was to come in after screening by the White House Police force (a/k/a Uniformed Secret Service), more to come about those wonderful folks later.
We had an abundance of teenagers and early twenties volunteers. They were strong, straight beautiful young adults who got the work-out of a lifetime. They deserve our undying praise for their efforts in an unexpected crowd that size.
It quickly became evident that many, many handicapped and elderly were coming in droves to see their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, as well as Governors Huckabee and Romney. Hubby and I saw that these frailest of society were going to need special attention. We saw the need and stepped in. I spent the day caring for the elderly and handicapped. You only have to have seen the handicapped I encountered yesterday to realize what a blessing health is.
The frailest of the frail turned out with their families to support the GOP. They made the decision to brave the heat, suffer the huge crowd and make an appearance for the GOP. I salute them and their families. I saw entire families bring their elderly parents and children like I was to this event. Hubby and I negotiated with the Secret Service to allow these vulnerable folks access to an area that was "perfect" for them in an area that was cordoned off, as that was where the Presidential entourage was to arrive. It was shaded, breezy (not cool), but tolerable. We carried water all day long to make sure they were hydrated and cared for.
I, now, must take time to give credit to our Secret Service, Police, and the White House Uniformed Secret Service. These dedicated women and men not only worked all day long in suits and heavy uniforms in the full sun and heat, but there was body armor underneath all those clothes. They stay with the Presidential detail throughout. They are on the road with them, have little time to eat or rest, are formidable and polite AND compassionate. I adored them. I ate along side them as they tried to grab a bite after their sweep of the stadium. They allowed us to care for the elderly and infirm when they were already over-extended and had no idea they would be getting 13,000 more people than expected. They are the best!!!
Bottom line is, I got to see the "Plain Talk Express" pull in. I saw Sarah's lovely family exit and that was it. I stepped away so the folks I was serving could get what, perhaps, was their only contact with the candidates they are supporting would be. I found a place to sit on empty crates in the only shade left and waited to help everybody out.
By that time, my butt was dragging so badly the GOP could have been headlining "Mickey Mouse" (no comments, please) and I couldn't have cared less. I lugged heavy water containers, checked constantly to see that all was well with my adopted assignment, pressed children (with the permission of their parents) into "water boy" service when I couldn't lug anymore (and cup service when we ran out of cups), and never got to see or hear my party's candidates, but all of those who volunteered in the hot sun gave them what we had to give -- ourselves.
As I walked out last night, I saw the obvious fatigue on my teenage and twenty-something volunteers who were now pressed in to trash and clean-up duty. Who, like hubby and me, never got to sit or hear the candidate, but gave what they had or could do.
None of us may receive a Christmas card this year from the White House, but we gave our platform and party a labor of love. Hope you will step up and make it happen in your towns and cities across America. It's what the GOP does. Do it for your local and congressional candidates, do it for our Presidential candidates, do it for what the GOP stands for and in the end, you will have done it for yourself -- which is truly the GOP way.
God bless you and your family for all the hard work. You leadership by example is inspiring.
This is Los Angeles and the invigoration is going on here too, People are starting to put bumper stickers on. They are standing up as evidenced by the increased volume of their previous whispers of support.
Keep up the great work! Oh, and pass on my best to that teenager for being a person of character and integrity, rather than just going along with the crowd!
I am new to volunteering for the GOP but find it tremendously rewarding. My phone rings all the time from one campaign or another, they are so grateful and kind for my help. I have no desire to run for office, working for the campaigns is exciting enough.