This Republican resident of Freeburg scrambled through a maze of angry Democrats and others as he toted that plain manila envelope from the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden to the party’s command center several blocks away, a plainclothes policeman at his side.
This Valley resident was all of 22 years old, a college student at Susquehanna University who was attending the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City as part of an internship.
“There were tons of armed police officers all around and the protesters were supposed to stay in certain areas,” he says, “but they didn’t always do that. “There wasn’t a whole lot of violence, but it was intimidating.”
Lots of shouting.
“Some of them had their faces painted,” he says.
“We had to cross through the protesters to get there,” he says. “They were protesting the war, the policies of the president at the time. They didn’t have a single mind.”
Outside, there were a number of arrests.
Once inside the Republican Party command center at the Farley Post Office, he rubbed elbows with the GOP elite. Shook New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s hand. Saw New York Republican Gov. George Pataki in the crowd. Then stood in front of longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas in line.
“That was neat,” he says. “She asked, ‘Is this your first convention?’ I said, ‘Yes, it is.’ “She said, ‘You will want to go to all of them.’”
This 2001 graduate of Selinsgrove Area High says his oddest job was a bicycle assembler — “It’s one of the best jobs you can have if you are in high school” — says his bucket list includes a trip to Europe, being an ambassador to another country and driving cross-country.
He can’t bring himself to toss his and his relatives’ report cards from high school — “No one else really wants them, but I won’t throw them away” and unwinds by going to public auctions to collect antiques.
One thing he didn’t collect, or save, was that manila envelope he carried through the mob of protesters in New York City.
What was in it?
“I don’t have any idea,” he says.