Thursday morning in Pensacola, Florida started with two call-in radio interviews—the first in Pensacola with WCOA and the second with WFLA in Tallahassee. In between those interviews while reading headlines, we found another CVA op-ed in TownHall.com. So, before event leaving the hotel in the morning, we had three media hits! Later in the morning, Darin Selnick (an Air Force veteran, CVA organizing committee member, and VA expert who joined us the night before) and Bev Perlson did a TV interview with WEAR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Pensacola. After a great morning of local media coverage, we hit the road for Tallahassee.
Our first stop in Tallahassee was at WUSF Radio, the local NPR affiliate, where Jane, Darin, Beverly, and myself did a 30 minute interview on a wide range of topics. From there, we jumped on the RV and sped off to a meet and greet at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Tallahassee, which is directly across from Florida’s State Capitol (and within small-arms range…wait, correction, stones throw away…from the resident anti-war protestors. One ventured our way, and after discussing current events with Justin—an Iraq war veteran and one of our field reps—left with his tail between his legs). Our event at the memorial was covered by WCTV, the local CBS television affiliate. In fact, they broadcast live from the RV at the top of both their 5pm and 6pm newscasts, and taped a long segment for the 11pm news. Great coverage. From there, we hit the road for a long drive to Tampa Bay…during which Darin did a radio segment with WNRP radio live from the RV.
Friday morning was the first time our group didn’t have an obligation before O-Dark-30…so we grabbed some long-overdue shut-eye. Nonetheless, a scan of the morning media brought two mentions for CVA and the Tour: one in Humans Events and the other in the Daily Caller; another great start to a day. We were on the road shortly thereafter—headed for downtown Tampa Bay where we setup shop at Lykes Gaslight Square Park. Parked in the busiest section of the city, the RV drew lots of attention, and we greeted CVA volunteers and veterans for two hours straight. We also did lengthy interviews with the Tampa Bay Times (coming soon) and a cameraman from the local NPR affiliate. Getting the word out on the ground and over the airwaves, the entire point of this tour.
From there, we headed back to the hotel where we met even more CVA volunteers for a phone bank. We spent nearly 2 hours calling veterans in Florida, reminding them to vote. The neat part about CVA is that we combine media and grassroots, moving the message and volunteers to ensure vets continue to their fight for freedom, liberty, and prosperity. In under 2 hours, our room full of volunteers made over 3,000 phone calls! Kudus to the CVA field reps—Elizabeth Smith and Paul Janiczek, both veterans—for building an incredible volunteer base in Florida.
From there, we took our volunteers out to dinner…a small thank you for all the hard work they do. At dinner, we were joined by Gary Berntsen & Jessie Jane Duff—both CVA organizing committee members, and featured speakers for the Tour. Gary is a decorated CIA field operative and Air Force veteran, and Jessie Jane is a retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant and expert on military voting. I hope you take time to read about both of them, we’re fortunate to have them on the Tour. With Gary and Jessie Jane onboard—along with Jane Horton and Beverly Perlson—tomorrow’s events in Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Merritt Island promise to be very successful.
Eight days down—two to go. Tomorrow (Saturday) we hit the I-4 corridor in Florida, and on Sunday we’re up in Ohio, anticipating good crowds in both Columbus and Cleveland. Down the homestretch we come…