Following a busy day of classes and entertaining guests, we looked forward to a similarly busy evening of entertaining guests and ourselves at the Reagan Dinner. LEAP Ambassadors arrived early to help greet guests as they arrived and escort them to their seats. Because we had a large slate of volunteers, we also had the chance to socialize with each other, something that happens less than you might expect.During the reception, hosted by the Walker County Republican Women, we had the opportunity to spend more time with the guest of honor, Ambassador Chase Untermeyer, and with many community members. Among the guests were County Judge Pierce, Judge Sorenson, Congressman Brady, County Chair Linda McKenzie, WCRW President Terry Stivers, and numerous others who are currently running for local office.
It was at this time that many LEAP Ambassadors took the opportunity to have Ambassador Untermeyer sign our books. He gladly agreed and discussed his book eagerly with us. How Important People Act: Behaving Yourself in Public gave us many pointers on how to act when we are in the spotlight, no matter how big or small. Ambassador Untermeyer speaks from years of experience from multiple levels of government. Ambassador Untermeyer worked under multiple Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan, making him a perfect speaker for the Reagan Dinner.
In that book, he notes that your actions should be appropriate for the occasion. He noted, for example, that a President should not take a selfie at a funeral. At a festive occasion such as this dinner, however, there are no such prohibitions:
Once the invocation and the pledge of allegiance was given, dinner began. Students were fortunate enough to sit with a variety of respected individuals such as: Ambassador Untermeyer; State Representative Candidate Wesley Hinch; Tenth Court of appeals Chief Justice Tom Gray; Field Representative for Dr. Schwertner, Hayden Paul; John McManners; and Mac and Leanne Woodward.
U.S. Representative Congressman Brady spoke for a few moments about his new position as the Ways and Means Committee Chairman and his plans with committee. He also thanked the LEAP Center for their work in Walker County! It was a real honor for the Ambassadors to be recognized by our U.S. State Representative.
Next, Professor Yawn introduced Ambassador Untermeyer for the keynote address of the evening. Ambassador Untermeyer outlined the qualities President Reagan utilized in the White House to be a successful leader of a divided house.
First, his optimism allowed him to focus on much more of the positives rather than the negatives. He also used courage and compromise to get bills passed in Congress. According to Ambassador Untermeyer, President Reagan was not afraid to reach across the aisle in order to promote cooperation between parties. He encouraged our current elected officials to do the same. The final quality Ambassador Untermeyer discussed was President Reagan’s sense of humor at the proper time. His ability to be lighthearted is vastly different from the politics of today. Following Untermeyer’s speech, one of the Ambassadors noted, “I wish all candidates shared those views.” It was a sentiment we all shared.
Ambassador Untermeyer observed all of these qualities while working as Reagan’s appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Ambassador Untermeyer’s years of experience provided the audience much insight into who President Reagan was. With President Reagan’s birthday approaching, The Reagan Dinner was a wonderful way to commemorate President Reagan’s legacy.
Concluding the evening, LEAP Ambassadors utilized the opportunity to take pictures with some of our favorite community members and elected officials.
Thank you to the Republican Party of Walker County for hosting a wonderful evening and for allowing the LEAP Ambassadors the opportunity to participate in the evening. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Also, thank you to Ambassador Untermeyer for spending the day in Huntsville and speaking at the Reagan Dinner!