Lenny McAllister poses for a picture with economist and author Julie Gibson (r) and Mother Ruth Hodges, considered the “Mother Theresa of Tampa” for her work with the people of Haiti over 6 decades of missionary work.
Quite possibly, one of the most important meetings impacting the future of the GOP at the Republican National Convention in Tampa didn’t happen at the Convention Center or the IcePalace.
As a Republican, one would think that I would remember more about the full day of events on the culminating day of this year’s RNC Convention in Tampa. Sure, there was a lot going on the Thursday leading up to Governor Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination. Yes, the Politic365 #VoiceYourVote tour made its final Florida stop at the University of South Florida to talk with college-age voters about the issues that matter to them the most in 2012.
Yet, despite experiencing the new, the reformed, the passionate, and the odd displayed on stage at the Republican National Convention, I genuinely feel as though the best experience that I had as a Republican during my time in Florida was at a little school in Tampa on a hot summer school day.
If there is any hope for the Republican Party to lead in the 21st century as elected officials, there must be plenty more days like it for more of us.
A simple random act of kindness allowed me to avoid walking 2 miles in the Tampa heat. It ended up leading to an opportunity to talk to a group of middle school children in one of Tampa’s inner-city neighborhoods, providing a glimpse of their perspective on the RNC Convention that took over their hometown for the week. Mrs. Pam Leslie, a volunteer for Bible Truth Academy, was kind enough to offer the ride. Her kindness was nothing new to people that known her throughout Tampa. She is known throughout the Tampa area as a Christian-based, proactive woman that has spent decades in the community working to improve the lives of her communities’ children, from the B.E.S.T. (Brain Expansion Scholastic Training) program to summer music camps. Her husband is simply known as “Smiling Jack” and was featured for his impact on the community in the Tampa Tribune. Her latest small gesture of kindness led to an opportunity for the children of the school to have a chance to experience the RNC from an insider’s perspective.
For me, it was a chance to see – again – where the RNC needs to invest and appear after the cameras are gone in order to build up themselves as capable, empathetic, and engaged leaders for the next generations of Americans.
Catch Lenny’s “A Big Meeting of Young Minds at a National Convention” on Politic365.com
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