As I rushed to end my work day on Thursday so that I could make the drive to Michigan to catch the Americans For Prosperity bus to Washington, DC I wondered if I would be left behind. I was notified at 4:00 P.M. that I could attend the Defending The American Dream Summit and Tribute To President Ronald Reagan Dinner that was to be held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Va. on October 10 - 11, 2008 if I could make it to their bus.
I got home at 5:00 P.M. and began throwing the needed items into my luggage so that I could begin my trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan for the 7:00 P.M. departure of the bus. After a very fast shower I loaded the car and headed for a gas station along the route. I finished the task and started up I-69 about 5:50 P.M to catch the bus at a park and ride stop on I-94.
After reaching the Michigan line I realized that I was not going to make it so I called the Americans For Prosperity Foundation in Washington DC and asked them if they could hold the bus for me for about 10 - 15 minutes. They were very helpful and and told me not to worry as they would wait because I was given such short notice to attend the event. I had been given the approval to attend the event earlier that day, but was not sure if I could make it because of my job.
After loading the bus with the Michigan Chapter folks, and about 15 home school kids that had been invited to the event we departed to Washington DC. I really enjoyed talking to the kids and meeting the folks during our 12 hour ride.
We arrived at the destination at 7:45 A.M. Friday morning. I then headed to the registration area and signed in. I was surprised to learn that they had canceled my hotel reservation because I had called them from work letting them know that I might not be able to make it to the bus on time. However, that is when I learned that the best was yet to come. They advised me that I was a welcome guest and that they had reserved me a room at the Ritz Carlton a few blocks away in Pentagon City. Little did I know what a blessing this would be later on.
I had the opportunity to attend classes all day on Friday, and we were transported to the U.S. Capital that afternoon for a big rally. There were people at the rally from 24 state chapters of AFP. During the rally they called off the states that were present. I quickly noticed that they skipped Indiana so I began to yell out Indiana during the breaks in the roll call. By the time they got to Oregon the crowd joined in with me and all of the TV cameras were on me. The emcee also announced to the rally to give it up for the lone man from Indiana. The crowd went nuts as I turned around in a circle with my arms in the air shouting Indiana.
After the rally We attended the Tribute to President Reagan Dinner. I was asked to sit with the Home School group, and was very honored as it was a very great location. We then stood for the singing of America The Beautiful and the President of AFP gave a short speech. After his short talk he said that he wanted to show some video from the rally. When the video started I was shocked to see myself on the huge monitors with my hands in the air shouting Indiana at the beginning.
The dinner included speakers such as George Will, Dinesh D' Souza, and Edwin Meese III. After the dinner I found myself on the shuttle back to the Ritz Carlton with Mr. D' Souza. He was very friendly, and I took two pictures with him.
On Saturday we had a general session that featured great speakers such as Herman Cain, John Stossel of ABC 20/20, and Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standaed.
The highlight of my trip happened at the closing reception. I was standing at the stage waiting for the guests to speak when Ken Blackwell, The Secretary Of State - Ohio, and former Senator Rick Santorum walked in. They were surrounded by security. I mentioned to the person next to me that I sure would like to shake Mr. Blackwells hand. The man looked at me and said "you would". He then took out his cell phone and made a call and asked me to follow him. I was taken next to the stage where I was photographed with the Senator and Mr Blackwell, the Secretary Of State Of Ohio.
After the reception we loaded the bus and the Michigan group invited me to their Pizza party on the 17th floor of the Double Tree hotel. The view of Washington DC is remarkable.
After the party we departed for Michigan.
I had a great time and learned a lot about President Ronald Reagan. I am hoping that the AFP will invite me to a future event. They are a very good and patriotic organization with some great members.