September 11, 2010
I cant properly relay all of the hard work that Debbie and her team have extended to make today so incredibly special. They have been preparing for tonight’s dinner for months. The arrangements for the dinner, the auction items, the decorations, the ticket sales and much more. I have not a clue as to all of the details but I know the amazing effort and attention to detail that was expended. Every member of her Lompoc team pitched in and had the evening completely organized. I cannot thank them all enough for the amazing effort and absolute success. This was our first official dinner and I hope will be a model for many more to come. Debbie you are an incredible lady and I thank you and Todd for making Lompoc, (pronounced Lom-Poke), a truly memorable stop in my journey. And honestly I don’t think I stopped laughing most of the time and please don’t let me hear the party pooper song one more time.
The Elks lodge was a great place to hold the dinner and the room was packed. Mostly because of Dennis Miller and Bo Derek, but I think everyone received more of a blessing than they anticipated. After Dennis entertained us for a bit there was a great dinner and then I was able to share with the audience the mission of Honor and Remember. Following my message we made two very special personalized flag presentations to two Gold Star mothers who lost their sons in Vietnam. Ms Derek and Mr Miller read the certificates as we publicly gave tribute to Mrs Escobar and Mrs Walker after over 40 years.
The evening was perfect, except for my interrupting Mr Miller during his performance. Afterwards I spent the next hour visiting with each Gold Star family and the many supporters who now more intimately understand the importance of the mission. Thanks again to Tom Ballard for hanging with me and being an invaluable help this week at every stop. More thoughts to come.
Tomorrow: Drive to Santa Monica and Riverside