I’m a Beck fan and have been since long before it was “trendy” to do so. I jumped on the “We Surround Them” movement and sent my picture to Beck for what became a mosaic of thousands of faces. I helped Laura and Richard the day of the viewing of the 3/13 reveal of Beck’s The 9-12 Project. My part was small…I dragged family members to attend, brought some signs Laura asked me to make and agreed to help sign people up for “Tea Parties” during the event. Confession time now….I really didn’t have much interest in the Tea Party deal…I wanted to promote the 12 Principles and 9 Values with Beck. But Laura and Richard were genuinely nice people and when they asked me to attend the planning committee meeting for the Tea party, I went just put in my 2 cents and didn’t plan on continuing with the whole “Tea Party deal”. Well if you haven’t had the pleasure to meet and work under Laura and Richard then you might not understand but they are “infectious” when it comes to their enthusiasm! So I kept going to the committee meetings and sign making meetings and I volunteered to help co-ordinate people who wanted to blog to promote the Tea Party. By now I had been “converted” as I saw Laura and Richard recruiting more and more people that felt the same way I did about the direction of this country. As the Tea Party came together there were high hopes and a few disappointments (I had hoped Beck would choose to do his show from Indy on 4/15) but due to Richard and Laura’s leadership it was growing into a real “professional production” pulled together with nothing but dedicated volunteers who knew “people” who “knew people”. There are so many other volunteers that I never met that helped get the word out on the event, namely the printers who at their cost printed fliers, signs that said “Enough” and the handouts with info on how to stay active after the Tea Party ended. We had no idea how many would attend our little Tea Party and hoped we wouldn’t have more volunteers at the event then attendees. Just to cover our bases though we felt it necessary to have a medical response team so Wes and I recruited two other R.N.s and another volunteer “recruited” her husband who is an MD. We had a meeting on the Friday before the event at the Capitol with the security team volunteers and the rest of the committee. We closed the meeting with an incredible prayer offered by Jeff while we stood on the Capitol building steps. The day of the Tea Party I arrived a short time after the other volunteers who were already setting up hospitality tables. My husband helped me set up the first aid tent. While putting the “patient” cot together he pinched his finger in the tubing and started bleeding everywhere. It took 3 bandaids to get the bleeding to stop. I thought…this isn’t a good sign if the volunteers become “patients”before the event even begins. Medical superstition says “If you don’t have something…you will definitely need it. If you have everything set up and ready for an emergency…the emergency will never happen”. Ask any medical person who has been in the profession for a while and they will tell you it’s true. So since we weren’t able to find a loaner AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) I went into the Capitol building to locate where they were in case we would need one later. (I was certain someone would have a heart attack during the Tea Party). We won’t go into all the bloody details but lets just let it be said that if you plan to have a heart attack…DON’T have it on Capitol grounds. After being sent to 3 different offices, and talking to no less than 3 police officers and many, many people…no one seemed to know what an AED was or where one was kept. There might have been one in the Governor’s office but that office closed and would be locked at the end of their work day which happened to be the same time the Tea Party was to start. I debated in my mind if I had the courage to break in to the Governors office if someone had a heart attack. I gave up on the AED and said a prayer for the health of anyone that might show up for the event. Back outside people were beginning to straggle in. I took it as a good sign people were arriving early but still wondered if we would get much of a turnout. Then as it got closer to the time to start the Tea Party people started arriving at ever increasing rates. It became clear we were going to have a HUGE turnout! The signs were incredibly creative and just about everyone had one. People lined the sidewalks holding their signs for people passing in cars, trucks and buses to see. The tooting of horns and shouts of agreement and thumbs up signs from the passengers driving by was music to my ears and to my heart! From the first aid tent I couldn’t see the stage or speakers but I could hear and it was inspiring especially our own medical team member Wes R.N. who was a Soap Box speaker. Everyone who spoke was incredible in a different way but incredible nonetheless. Since I couldn’t see the stage I watched the reaction of the people in the crowd…they were totally focused on the message even the kids! Everyone knew this was something important, something great and we were UNIFIED! It was an inspiring event to say the least…from beginning to end! We volunteers were amazed at our sucess, pulled together entirely by “amatuers”. But the day wasn’t over, after clean up and tear down we met for pizza with Richard, Laura, Dr Basso (Thomas Paine). We all agreed we were in awe of how flawlessly the event had gone considering the huge number of people who attended (I credit our excellent security crew headed by Jeff and Paul). Dr. Bob Basso told us that our jobs weren’t over tho. Clearly we had started something BIG and we needed to keep it moving forward so he shared with us what he thought we needed to do. He is an amazing man and had our full attention. So now, under the excellent leadership of Laura and Richard, with the talents of the committee, and the infusion of new people with new resources we will go forward…us and more than 12,000 of our new best friends! We Surround Them!