My Presidental Visit
I arrive at Kerwin Baptist Church at 9:30am. That was the designated parking lot for all employees of Deer and volunteers. I had to board a shuttle bus to take me to the plant. I was on the bus with about 80 plant workers who all looked at me like “who is this guy”. I sat and didn’t say a word to anyone. As I usually do, I kept my ears open to the surrounding conversations. One guy was saying how he wasn’t going to come but since it was raining and he didn’t have anything else to do he thought he’d come down and see what was going on.” I wanted to turn around and yell, “It’s the PRESIDENT!!! How could you even think of not coming?” The bus eventually left and we got to the pant at 10:00am.
I went right in and got my volunteer badge. It was a huge 3” by 5” badge that said, “The Visit Of The President To Kernersville, NC”. Not the way I would have worded it but oh well, at least I had one souvenir to take home. Once all the volunteers were in we had to go through the metal detectors. They used our phones and cameras to make sure they were real. One guy stopped to take a picture of everyone checking in and the security folks went crazy and jumped all over him yelling, “don’t take any pictures of security”. I thought the guy was going to wet himself.
After we were all in, we went to our assigned areas. Since I was a floater with 3 other ladies, we found our White House staffer to see what he needed us to do. He said to just hang around and wait until he needed us. We never saw him again. It gave me a chance to get to know the ladies I was working with. One was a staffer for Virginia Foxx. She pointed out all the important people to me as they were coming in. Another was Booke Cashion, an Alderman here in Kernersville. She was nice and we talked a lot about church type stuff. The last was Kelly, a senior at Lenoir-Ryne. She is very active in the Republican Party. She is also very active in her church and her boyfriend plays in a band that is recording a cd that’s being produced by one of the guys from Third Day.
While we were waiting Kelly approached a White House worker and asked where the volunteers could sit. They said we could sit in any reserved seat that didn’t have someone’s name on it. She then asked if we could put our coats down to save our seats and they said sure. So we went and saved our seats on the 3rd row, center stage!!!! I was going to be within 30ft of the President during his speech.
At 12:15pm everyone was in and we all took our seats. There were 700+ employees, 230+ special guest, and 40 volunteers. I couldn’t believe how close we were to the stage. The mayor of Greensboro sat behind me. At 12:45pm several “special” guest arrived so we all knew that meant the President was there and touring the facility. A guy from Deer got up and introduced Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. She gave a brief speech. It was ok but she read the whole thing. Next Senator Richard Burr got up and gave a really good speech. He didn’t even have notes. It was just like he was having a normal conversation with all of us. Then it was the moment we had all been waiting for.
President Bush came in to thunderous applause, cheers, and whistles. I was taking pictures like crazy. When we all sat down I could believe that President George W. Bush, leader of the free world, the most powerful man on the planet, and my all-time favorite president was 30 feet in front of me. He spoke for 45 min. He had his speech in front of him but hardly ever looked down. He spoke on jobs, taxes, healthcare, the economy, Medicare, fuel supplies, and free trade. It was more like a state of the union address. Applause and cheers were constantly interrupting him. It went by so fast. It seemed like it lasted 5 min. The whole thing felt like a dream. When he was finished, Kelly told Brooke and I to come on and we got out of our seats and rushed to the barrier surrounding the stage. President Bush then made his way down and started taking pictures, signing autographs, and shaking hands. As he made his way down to me I got ready. I kept taking pictures all the way up to the climatic moment. As I reach my hand toward him I yelled “Mr. President, Mr. President”. He looked at me, smiled then grabbed my hand and shook it. I will never wash that hand again.
As I made my way back to my seats to take in all the excitement, I pulled out my phone and called Beth. As I was telling her what and just happened I felt someone come up and stand beside me. I turned to see who it was and it was Senator Burr. He looked at me and said, “Hello, How are you?” I got back on the phone and said, “Richard Burr’s here and he wants to talk to me” then I hung up on Beth. We exchanged pleasantries then I asked if he had time for a quick picture. He said sure and Brooke took a picture of Senator Burr and me.
Then it was all over. The President made his way out of the building and we all had to stay locked inside until he was gone. Once he was gone, we all were allowed to leave and go back the shuttle buses to head back to our cars. It was cold and rainy but I felt warm and dry. It was an amazing event that went by way to fast. As I sat down on the bus a lady in her mid to late 60’s sat next to me. She was also a volunteer. She was very excited about the whole experience and that led into her telling me how she got to go to the inauguration. She was telling me all kinds of crazy stories but none crazier then this: She went with a group of ladies from the Forsyth County Women Republicans to DC. During the inauguration activities, she and the ladies were walking around downtown DC when a group of protesters ran up to them yelling nasty things about the president. One guy held up a very vulgar and nasty sign in front of one of the ladies who was in her early 80’s. They yelled, “Can you read this?” Then this little 80 year old lady shot him the finger and said, “Can you read this?” I was dying laughing. I don’t know what was funnier; hearing this story or the fact the older lady telling it to me reenacted the whole thing all the way down to the finger. There is no telling what the folks around me thought if all they saw was this lady shooting me the rod and saying “can you read this”.
All in all an amazing day and one that I’ll never forget. If you ever get a chance to meet a president, I'd highly recommend it.