Saturday, June 21, 2008

Give Me the Keys, I'll Drive!

On Friday, June 20th, 2008 President George W. Bush visited North Carolina for a fundraiser for Charlotte Mayor, and candidate for North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. I had the honor and privilege of serving as a driver in President Bush's motorcade. I drove the staff support vehicle - fifth in line to the President's limousine.

When I first got the call offering me this opportunity, I thought it was a joke. I always assumed they had people for this. Well, as it turns out, the White House sometimes allows individuals associated with the organization or candidate the President is coming into town to visit the opportunity to participate in the motorcade as a "thank you".

I arrived at the airport, and after going through security checks and briefings from Secret Service we were tasked with organizing vehicle position so that once Air Force One landed, we could orderly and quickly fall in line behind the President's limousine. I must admit I became a little nervous watching secret service members - especially those on the tactical team - readying their weapons in preparation for the worst. The amount of firepower these folks have at their disposal is truly amazing however, and I am confident that anyone who attempted to cause us harm would quickly have a new home address....six feet underground.

Once the President was in his limousine, our motorcade began, and we didn't stop moving until we reached our destination in Raleigh. It was great to see all the folks who turned out to watch the President drive by, hoping for that slim chance to catch a glimpse of the man, or to just snap a photograph. Hundreds of folks cheered and waved American Flags, held up signs of support, and we even saw a few "Congratulations Jenna and Harry!" signs. Too cute.

Once we left the fundraiser, our motorcade did make an unscheduled stop. The President decided he wanted to visit with some of the folks who had gathered on the side of the road. Talk about excitement! You never saw so many reporters run so fast in your life! (they were in the rear of the motorcade LOL....) Secret Service immediately went into action and secured the area so Bush could spend a few minutes with these folks safely. It was a sight to see. Can you imagine the President of the United States not only driving through your neighborhood, but also stopping to say "hello"? How cool is that?!

After we arrived back at the airport, the President climbed the stairs back into Air Force One, turned and waved goodbye before stepping inside, and he was off.

This was one of the most exciting experiences of my life - something I will remember forever. Many Thanks to the McCrory campaign for giving me this incredible opportunity.
To see more pictures, please visit my facebook page.