If anyone told me a few years ago that I would be part of the planning process for a Presidential event, I would say they were living in a dream world. Surprisingly, that dream world became my reality when The First Family and their immediate family volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank on November 21, 2012.
I will never forget the day when I was told that I would be the CAFB’s Logistics Lead for the event. It was a great honor and also a chance to showcase my talents. The event was a success and as a result I was chosen to be a volunteer lead for the Inaugural Parade.
I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my President than to volunteer at the parade and participate in a historical event. My fancy title for the day was Inside Access Control Captain, and I liked the way that sounded! My excitement grew after a few trainings and site visits. I was a little concerned about being outdoors for over 10 hours in 30 degree weather, but the opportunity meant more to me than the fear of cold weather.
The day of the Inaugural Parade was truly magical. A sea of volunteers packed into the National Building Museum at 5:30 am with their red volunteer hats. We were all there as a team to celebrate our President, no matter our backgrounds or differences. It was truly a beautiful feeling. Soon after I arrived, I received my neon green vest that matched nicely with my red hat and blue coat! That was not one of my most fashionable moments, but it was for a great cause.
My favorite accessory of all was my credentials with my picture printed nicely on the front. I knew then that I was really “official.” I was responsible for managing my own section of ticketed guests on 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and overseeing eight volunteers. And I must say that I had the best section on the block.
That day had many rewarding moments. However, what stood out the most were the amazing volunteers, the PIC staff and the awesome people that came to see the parade. Of course, seeing my President and First Lady walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with poise and grace was the ultimate highlight. The crowd roared with screams as they walked passed chanting “OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA!”
You may be surprised to know that I also had a chant of my own take place that day, “JANA IS THE BEST, JANA IS THE BEST.” I think that made me volunteer of the day! I am thankful for this experience and to the food bank for providing this opportunity. This inaugural moment is something that I will always treasure.