Mr. Dean covers city hall. He got a kick out of seeing this photo of Mayor Mick Cornett being checked out by the U.S. Secret Service before Pres. Bush arrived. Photo by Jim Beckel.
(Above) Pres. Bush with, from left, Oklahoma County sheriff’s Capt. Joe Castleberry, Karen Stark and Maj. Dan Rooney. Photo by Paul Hellstern.
(Above) Pres. Bush waves to the crowd at Tinker. Photo by Paul Hellstern.
Michael McNutt reports:
Not everyone showing up here with signs is opposed to Pres. Bush. About eight to 10 people appeared at the intersection of NE 8 and Lincoln with a sign reading: “Welcome President Bush!”
Dianne Webb, who works at the nearby family medical center, said she and her coworkers wanted to show the President that not everyone disagrees with his policies.
Bryan Dean reports:
The three Oklahomans who were recognized by the President for volunteer service said meeting him was a once in a lifetime experience.
Capt. Joe Castleberry of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said the President thanked him and the 18 other deputies who went to south Louisiana recently to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Gustav.
Castleberry said he couldn’t remember everything the President said.
“Meeting him is just — no words,” he said.
Maj. Dan Rooney founded The Folds of Honor Foundation. He’s also an F-16 pilot with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Rooney is scheduled to leave Monday to serve in Iraq. Rooney has already served multiple deployments and said the President thanked him for his military service and his work as a civilian volunteer.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Ronney said. “I get nervous flying missions in Iraq.”
Karen Stark founded The Hugs Project in 2004. She first met the President last month at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Florida.
Stark said the President remembered her from the convention, where she shook his hand.
Stark gave the President four “hugs,” or cooling ties, which use polymer crystals that, when wet, can keep troops up to five degrees cooler.
“He told me he would use them while he chopped wood and built fences,” she said.
Before he left Tinker, Pres. Bush praised a third volunteer worker in addition to Stark and Rooney.
Oklahoma County sheriff’s Capt. Joe Castleberry was honored for his work in Louisiana during Hurricane Gustav.
Michael McNutt reports:
The motorcade has arrived at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Conference Center. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol helicopter was hovering over the building as the motorcade crested a hill.
Jim Beckel reports that some people, not a huge number, lined Interstate 40 outside Tinker Air Force Base to watch the motorcade go by. Some stood in pickup beds waving their hands. A fire crew whose truck was blocking the Air Depot entrance to the base stood on top of the truck, also waving.
Pres. Bush was accompanied on the flight by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and U.S. Reps. Frank Lucas and Mary Fallin, among others.
Pres. Bush praised Rooney and Stark in a brief interview with the media. Wind made him difficult to hear on TV, but hopefully our reporters on the scene will have heard it better.
He said he is very concerned about Hurricane Ike and urged his fellow Texans to heed the warnings and take all possible precautions.
Michael McNutt reports that Oklahoma City police are now closing down Lincoln for several blocks south from NE 8. Unclear how long the road will be closed.