Joe Clemons is a Fall Organizing Fellow for Obama for America - Massachusetts. Here is his story of an unexpected meeting with the Bidens:
I began volunteering for Obama for America as a Fall Fellow just three weeks ago. I am proud to be involved and supporting President Obama. In this short time, I’ve been recruiting new volunteers, talking with undecided voters about our shared values and vision for the future, and best of all, I can now say that I have spoken with Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden.
What a journey for someone who was, until recently, a lifelong Republican.
I chose to get involved with the President's re-election campaign for a number of very personal reasons. Not only did I feel that my former party has consistently blocked beneficial legislation in the sole interest of party politics, I now have even more of a reason to support President Obama: my wife and I are expecting our first child in just a few weeks, a little girl. We want the best of everything for her, as all parents do—including President Obama and the First Lady. They want all girls and women to succeed, and the President proved this when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act in to law ensuring equal pay for women.
Recently, I was asked to take part in the motorcade for our Vice President and the Second Lady. I was thrilled and honored to play a part in their welcome to New Hampshire and hoped to catch a glimpse of them at some point during the day—but I couldn’t have even guessed what a once-in-a-lifetime experience it would be.
Honestly, I was just happy to be helping out and supporting the staff as part of the motorcade, so when I found out I would actually get to shake hands with Joe and Dr. Jill, it was an incredible surprise.
While in the photo line waiting to meet Joe and Dr. Jill Biden I kept thinking, “We will say hello, shake hands, snap a photo and then, ‘next.’”
Far from it.
I was introduced to the Bidens as an Air Force veteran. The Vice President looked me in the eye and told me he was proud of me. Not once, but three times, the third time adding, “I really mean it.” I was overwhelmed and a little embarrassed, but I knew he meant what he said, and that he was really proud of me for something I did twenty years ago. Surprisingly starstruck, all I could think to do was thank him and his wife for their tireless efforts to make sure our veterans and their families are taken care of. If I was not already working on the election, that moment would have been enough to inspire me. One of the most powerful people in the world connected with me and made me feel and understand that he cares.
I watched for a moment after the photo was taken. He was the same with everyone in that line. He was genuinely interested in everyone he met. If he had not been on such a tight schedule I believe that he might have invited everyone out to lunch just to talk to them and hear their stories. During the few moments I stood with the Bidens, I not only felt like I had the Vice President's ear, I really did. He made everyone who met him feel like they were the most important person in that moment, which was easy for him because they were.
I chose to apply to the Fall Organizing Fellowship program because I believe in what the President is doing for our country. I became a fan of the president since I heard his speech at the DNC in 2004, and my belief that I am working for the right team has been even more solidified after meeting Joe Biden.
My new personal story is that I am a veteran who met the Vice President and his wife. Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden have a son in uniform and understand first hand the needs of our nation’s veterans and families. They are proud of everyone who has served and feels our nation has an obligation to take care of its veterans. My support is with President Obama for many reasons, but one of the nearest to my heart is because his vice president has a vested interest in the military.
I urge everyone to get involved with the campaign. Working with this campaign has been full of surprises and has been an invaluable experience that I will never forget, and if you volunteer, you’re sure to have many unforgettable moments of your own.
Take Joe's advice: sign up to volunteer today.