MCC encounters with presidents of the United States
In recognition of Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 18, Mohave Community College asked its faculty and staff if they have had encounters with presidents of the United States. Here are a few of their stories:
(Media-Newswire.com) - In recognition of Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 18, Mohave Community College asked its faculty and staff if they have had encounters with presidents of the United States. Here are a few of their stories:
The formal reception was winding down and the VIP attendees had begun to make their way into the dining room when Sonni Marbury’s life intersected President George W. Bush’s for a few brief minutes. George W. Bush was America’s 43th president from 2001-2009.
“He was very down to earth and genuine,” said Marbury, “very unassuming, not arrogant at all.”
Marbury had been active in the Republican Party in Colorado, where she formerly lived, when it was announced that President Bush would be visiting to meet with constituents and attend a Republican dinner fundraiser in August 2001. An invitation-only reception was held prior to the dinner, in which Marbury helped to screen attendees to ensure they had proper credentials.
Toward the end of the reception, the attendees began to make their way to dinner when President Bush approached Marbury to thank her for helping with the event.
“He was very appreciative. He’s the kind of guy who you would want to hang out with, the kind of guy you would want to be around,” she said.
Marbury said she learned from her experience that “anybody is accessible and everybody is a human being. Our presidents want the best for people, even though they have different methods of doing it, I think it’s a good way to remember that all of them have the right kind of heart.”
Dina Nielsen, student services director, Bullhead City campus
A friend of Dina Nielsen’s was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation. Twice a year, appointed volunteers are invited to the White House to be thanked for their service. President Obama is the U.S.’s 44th president, elected in 2009.
As her friend’s guest, Nielsen attended the event in June 2012 on the south lawn of the White House, toured the first lady’s garden, the president’s putting green and a playground for Sasha and Malia.
President Obama and his wife spoke for a few minutes and shook hands with the attendees. Nielsen said she and her friend waited near the podium to make sure they had their opportunity to shake hands.
“It was so cool,” she said. “I still get all giddy about it. The first lady was gorgeous, she was absolutely beautiful.”
The president and first lady had said they wanted to shake everyone’s hand, but they had promised their daughters that the family would eat dinner together when both parents were home, Nielson said.
“There is a charisma you feel around presidents,” she said. “Obviously it takes a strong personality to achieve that level, regardless of how you feel about their politics. I remember the energy surrounding the president. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”
Joe Moyer, facilities manager, Lake Havasu City campus
In the late 1970s, Joe Moyer traveled from his Pennsylvania home with friends to attend the national convention for the United States Junior Chamber ( Jaycees ) in Indianapolis, Ind. Attendees had heard that President Gerald Ford would be speaking at the event. President Ford served as the U.S.’s 38th president from 1974-1977.
Hours before the president’s expected arrival, the Pennsylvania group decided to give the president a warm welcome upon his entry.
So as he walked in, about 300 attendees – including Moyer – raised their kazoos ( which they had purchased for noise makers ) and played “Hail to the Chief,” the official presidential anthem of the United States.
“I can remember him walking through the door. He was just smiling and waving,” Moyer said. “It was phenomenal. It was a blast. He stopped and pointed, waved and then he directed us. There was no music playing when he walked in, so we gave him a musical entrance.”
Diana Stithem, dean of extended campus, Neal Campus-Kingman
While growing up, Diana Stithem would occasionally accompany her father to his workplace. As an officer in the U.S. Army’s Transportation Corps, her visits allowed her to catch glimpses of her father moving military supplies, troops and equipment. But on one particular day in the late 1950s, Diana’s office visit gave her a glimpse that few Americans ever enjoy.
“I got to see Ike either get into or out of a car. I don’t remember exactly. I was in grade school and that was a long time ago,” Stithem said. “But I remember he looked just like his pictures.”
The Stithem family was living in Alexandria, Va. in the 1950s during Maj. Dale D. Stithem’s assignment at The Pentagon. As a young child at the time, the specifics of how or why she accompanied her father to work that day have faded. Maj. Stithem knew that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also known as “Ike,” was expected to visit The Pentagon that day and took Diana to his office to watch the president’s non-public arrival. President Eisenhower served as the United States’ 34th president from 1953-1961.
“I honestly don’t remember if he was coming or going,” she said. “It was special to my dad because he had served in the Army during World War II, under President Eisenhower’s command. We were relatively close to the president in proximity, but we didn’t wave, just stood in relaxed attention. All I remember is that I got to see him in the motor pool in the Pentagon basement. I had known at the time that the president had been involved in World War II, just like my dad.”
This story was released on 2013-02-19. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.