In the the past few years I have found miracles all around me. It began with finding out that “we surround them” at a meeting with approximately 350 strangers. That meeting changed my life. It changed my family’s life. We made new friends. We found that we were not alone. Not alone in our concerns, not alone in our desire to understand what was going on in our government, not alone in our determination to become self reliant, not alone in our quest to be more responsible for our community and in the outcome of legislation and elections. We could look around and see that we were NOT ALONE at all.
My first memory of the inaugural 912 meeting was looking across the room and meeting Dmitry – the most outspoken Russian I had ever met. Today he is a dear friend. On that day I met a man sitting at a crowded table with people he never met, all of them laughing and sharing chicken wings. Today Ed Fulop and his family are not only great friends but Ed is a terrific leader in our 912 group. Roberto, a new face to me then is now like a family friend and terrific bus trip organizer and leader in our group. Roberto’s story about becoming an American would make any one have watery eyes. I spoke for hours with the Rogers family and the Moffit family, sharing my worries and excitement before our first “meetup”. They will always be very dear to me. I met a mom with strong faith in God and great ideas, she also was creative and she shared in her talents. Michelle was a leader of our group, then spring boarded her experience to where she organized Teens In Action, and Lower Taxes Now here in Palm Beach County and now works for BIZ PAC. Lynne Sherrer, who I just respect and care so much about. Jason Shields who at that first meeting I knew really only from Church and now he and his family are our best friends. I have met so many amazing people back at that first group meeting. I met Daria who is a great inspiration, author and a “Conservative Diva”. Ellen a great photographer and “Diva”, Ray Hite, Lori Perry, Melissa Andrews. Mike Lamayer, Alison Rampersad, Lori and Mark Parris, Irene, Frank and Donna, Wayne and Tina, Matthew and Christy, Jim, Terry, Darlene, Jessica, Tim, Ed, Nancy, Helen and Debye and so many others I cannot name.
The word first implies that there are more… many many more. Since that FIRST meeting was just a beginning, and it was just that, a real beginning of something special. People have stepped up in leadership in the group, a few have run campaigns, and some have run for office. Some have started their own groups. There were and have been ups and downs. Some tears were shed and feelings were hurt. Thru it all the group grew and got stronger. The leaders faces changed and the group became more directed. My heart just pounds with gratitude and love for those leaders that surround me. Last week when I was at our monthly 912 meeting at Lantana Library, I looked around I could not help to think how much these people are like a family to me. Everyone sitting there really wants to make our community a better place to be. We all are a part of that. I looked around the room and I saw people who I have come to love these people, care about them, and their families. The 912 has become something so much more to me then just a place to find others who feel like I do. It has become a gathering of motivated people who are tied together thru a familial bond.
It may appear I am rambling and maybe I am… however in this month of Thanksgiving I cannot help but to remember the “first” meeting of our group and the bonds that have grown and the new friendships that have been made along the way. I am so grateful to our core leader group, My husband Doug, Fred and Iris, Jason, Linda, Dave, Kim, Boris, Jim H and Loreen, Jim B, Mickey and Mj, Ken and Jeane, and Ed. I am thankful for things that we have worked so hard on this past year. We have some success and failures and with each we have learned something. Only 2 years ago the “new website rolled out and look at how much has happened since. We have collected food for canned good drives, we helped with money and food for Haiti,. We have delivered Balloons to the hospital to deserving children, we laughed and smiled at welcome home parties and and hugged and cried at funerals for soldiers. The 912 has helped serve meals at Thanksgiving and will do it again this year. The 912 CV Super Seniors has grown and is now a hit nationwide, the Inspector General is now in place in our county and we still need to be vigilant on this issue. We have helped get elected conservative principled candidates. We are coalition members of TAB the Tax Payer Action Board. We are teaching people about county budgets and talking about the Constitution. Our language has changed. We are talking to our neighbors. I was able to present our Principles and values about the 912 to a high school civics class. We are going to church, reading our bible and studying our history. WE are growing in our individual strength and growing as a group of concerned citizens who are actively participating in the process. My children and my other 912ers children are being affected by this movement as well. I have taken my kids to DC, and Philadelphia, Jamestown, Gettysburg and Boston. We talk about the history of our great nation, we talk about the future. Thru my children eyes I have been able to see so much more, and appreciate so much more. Thank you for all of you who have ever attended a meeting, called your Representative, sent a fax, penned a letter to the editor, waved a sign or made phone calls. I am truly thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and God Bless
Shannon and Doug Armstrong and the Armstrong Family