Along with all the business-related entries Teresa Lewis might have penciled in on her calendar for this month, the Jan. 20 date has special significance — it is Inauguration Day.
And when Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States then, the Mount Airy woman plans to be there.
Lewis, the owner of WorkForce Unlimited based here, will journey to Washington for the event along with her husband Jim, a banker in Mount Airy; son Mike Brannock, who also is associated with WorkForce Unlimited; and another local couple, John and Kay Marcaccio.
“We’re real excited,” Lewis said of the upcoming trip.
Based on checks with Surry Republican Party contacts, Lewis and other members of her group are believed to be the only residents of Surry County who will attend Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
A.J. Daoud of Pilot Mountain, former Sixth District Republican Party chairman, said he and his wife Angie also have been invited to attend by the inauguration committee planning the event. However, Daoud said last week the couple likely will not do so due to the schedule at his business, Cox-Needham Funeral Home.
Lewis also was invited to Washington by the inauguration committee, due to being a longtime financial supporter of GOP candidates, including Trump.
“Actually, I was asked to be an underwriter for the inauguration,” said Lewis, a former member of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners who is active with many community organizations. “So I agreed to do that.”
The Daouds’ invitation arose from his employees serving as drivers for the Trump-Mike Pence campaign during the candidates’ visits to North Carolina. A.J. Daoud previously attended the Ronald Reagan inauguration in the early 1980s, while his wife was at that of George W. Bush.
‘This one is special’
Lewis has witnessed one other presidential inauguration in person, when Bush II took the nation’s reins in 2001. That provided the opportunity to attend a ball where Bush and his wife Laura danced and to see other dignitaries up close, including Vice President Dick Cheney.
“It was fun,” the local businesswoman recalled of that experience. “It is always exciting to be in the nation’s capital and there’s something about seeing history unfold right in front of you — it’s exciting.”
However, attending the inauguration of Donald Trump will be particularly sweet for Lewis, who remained a fan of his throughout a long and bitter campaign.
“This one is special, because I had the opportunity twice to meet with Presidential-elect Trump,” said Lewis, who attended his rallies and even had her picture made with Trump.
The way in which the Republican nominee captured the White House also will make his inauguration special, the local resident said. Much of the press had written off Trump and polling suggested he would lose in a landslide.
“He ran against all odds,” Lewis said, crediting Trump’s victory to a “silent vote” among supporters who made their voices heard by showing up on Election Day to cast ballots for him.
Lewis expects security to be tight for the Jan. 20 event at the U.S. Capitol. That was the case for the Bush inauguration, which was accompanied by barricades around the perimeters — before the 9/11 attacks.
Yet the Mount Airy resident is hoping to be right in the thick of things when Trump is administered the oath of office.
“You never know how close you’ll get.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.