A lot of people make up a political campaign; candidates, party officials, the media, etc. These are all important but it is at the grassroots level where people shine and make a difference. Tampa Bay is no exception, and during the recent presidential campaign many people stepped up to the plate and made a difference. Too often these people are overlooked, but as for me, I just want to take a moment and thank the following people for making the Florida election a success for Republicans. These are people from my neck of the woods who took on a responsibility and ran with it. I am going to mention them in alphabetical order as they all did a remarkable job.
Sandy Bryant – attended numerous Republican meetings and Trump Rallies. If I wanted to know when or where a political event was being held, I just contacted Sandy as I knew she would be there as well. A very generous, hard-working and kind-hearted lady who was always ready to pitch in and help. She appeared at so many events I began to believe she had a twin sister.
Brian Burns – Publisher of the Tampa Free Press, a new daily digital newspaper. He runs the most fair and balanced newspaper in the Tampa Bay area. I encourage more people to subscribe to it.
Matt English – from Palm Harbor, this conservative could be counted on to stoke the conservative fires on social media, and attend Trump flag rallies.
Chris Ingram – an old media friend and confidant from Tampa who kept a fire under the politicians of Hillsborough County, quite often with a sense of levity. Great guy to boot.
Leo Karruli – owner of Leo’s Italian Grill on US19 in Palm Harbor. He generously assisted many Republican candidates and groups at his facility. It was also one of the best places to post a GOP sign in the area. Great family and great food as well.
John Keller – a retired postman who worked tirelessly to help GOP candidates with petitions, campaigning for Republicans, and actively worked the North Pinellas Republican Campaign Office. He is a man who quietly went about his business and simply did it well.
Willie Lawson – a podcaster from Tampa who runs “The Morning Report” featuring political news and analysis. You could always count on Willie for straight, no-nonsense insight of the latest events. I was glad he was on our side.
Pam McAloon – I have had the pleasure of knowing Pam and her husband for several years now. Great people. I like to describe Pam as the “Energizer Bunny” of our area. Not only was she the Vice President of the Pinellas Republican Executive Committee, but also helped start the Pinellas Federated Republican Women’s Club. She knows all of the key political people in the area and has a knack for making things happen. A very determined and resourceful lady.
Helena Nunn – another trusted friend from Palm Harbor. Helena’s forte was to locate and publish real news, and weed out the “fake,” thereby providing a reliable source of information. She did this on Facebook with “Ask Helena” and was the News Editor for “TBCtampa.com,” a local web page for Tampa Bay Conservatives. If Helena brought a story to your attention, you could take it to the bank.
Ron Ogden – founded the North Pinellas Republican Campaign Office. Whereas most GOP activity was in south county, Ron opened an office for those of us in the north. As such, it was a clearinghouse for much needed political signs and for calling local voters. His ideas for running it were very ambitious and creative.
Mark Phillips – also from Palm Harbor, Mark worked quietly behind the scenes supporting campaigns and candidates through careful investigation of key issues. His enthusiasm and curiosity seemed to have no bounds. He’s just a great guy to have on your team to help get things done.
Dr. Richard Swier – publisher and editor of what I consider the best political e-zine DrRichSwier.com, not just in Tampa Bay, but in Florida, and maybe all of America. His publication enjoys a huge following. More importantly, he offers great political insight. If you haven’t been to his web site, you are missing out on some great content.
J.W. Stratton – founder and president of the Tampa Bay Trump Club, perhaps the largest Trump group in the state. Not only does he organize speakers for the event, but collects donations for local charities. His enthusiasm and energy is inspirational.
Penny Lee Todd – last, but certainly not least, Penny was the go-to gal for Trump flag rallies in north county. She tirelessly organized them, ran them, and promoted them afterwards, thereby recruiting more people for the cause. Waving flags may not sound exciting, but it does express the peoples’ support for the candidates. Doing a first class job, as Penny did, helped immeasurably.
These are extraordinary people. As you can see, they served in a variety of capacities. If you were to ask them, “Was it a lot of work or difficult to perform?,” they would probably say it was a labor of love. They genuinely seemed to enjoy what they were doing and did it well. They were not looking for personal accolades, they just wanted to help the cause. To me, they are the true unsung heroes of the campaign.
Some time ago, I wrote a column titled, “Do Just One Thing.” Basically, this is derived from Billy Crystal’s movie, “City Slickers,” whereby Curley (Jack Palance) tells Billy’s character the meaning of life involves “Just One Thing” which we must all figure out for ourselves. In terms of nonprofit organizations, I think I have an answer:
If all members did “Just One Thing” for their club, it would be a better place. I am not suggesting we do anything extremely labor intensive; perhaps it is something as simple as being a greeter at the door, preparing name tags, attending a meeting or social function, helping to write letters, or just helping out in some simple way. If we all did “Just One Thing,” the institution overall would flourish. Imagine what would happen if we had an army of people like the fifteen mentioned above.
Such people represent the backbone of any nonprofit group. They assumed responsibility, gave generously of themselves, and saw things through to completion. Too often we take such people for granted. I for one, do not. I relish them.
I therefore want to salute them for their efforts and offer a sincere and most appreciated, “Thank you.”
Obviously, there were many others who participated, and I’m sure I am overlooking some important people. To all of you who participated, thanks. You are appreciated and deserve accolades. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Keep the Faith!
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