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Volunteer leads along the presidential route

Deanna Ballard stays on the road most of the time.
Her volunteer work with George W. Bush has led her to be a part of the Advance Team, which tours with the president on his campaign. The group consists of five other people.
The team led her to move to Washington in October 2002, where she has been exposed to many different places and experiences.
“It’s very educational, everyday you are learning something,” Ballard said.
She began her volunteering back in February 2002 when the president came to visit in Charlotte. She helped escort the president.
“The volunteer work turned into more opportunities, which allowed me to tour with the Advanced Team on the road,” she said.
Ballard started touring with the vice-presidential advance team, where she would assist with site set advance.
As she did more trips, she started getting more involved. This year she was the event site manager for two events at the National Building Museum, including the candle light dinner and the Commander in Chief’s Ball for the inauguration.
She also helped with the presidential advance and was on the road from August to November, up until Election Day.
Ballard said she has been very fortunate to be exposed to these experiences.
She is a graduate of East Lincoln High School and Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
“I am not planning to run for office or anything like that, but to be 26-years-old and be serving the President of the United States in the capacity that I am, I can’t think what would top this,” she said.
Ballard is planning to move back to Charlotte in the future and perhaps settle into a public relations job.
For now, she is enjoying meeting all kinds of different people.
“They are a wonderful group of people, very humble,” she said.
On several occasions, she has also been able to meet the president.
“I have been able to shake his hand on Election Day when he would thank us for our work on the road,” she said.
The first time she met him she was very excited.
“It’s just like wow, I can’t believe I am from a small town in N.C., how did I ever get myself here,” she said.
Her interest in politics came in college when a friend of her father was running for office in South Carolina.
“I got the bug after that and that is how I got more involved,” she said.

by Amy Wadsworth

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