President arrives in Toledo, lunches at Rudy’s before Jeep visitWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
President Barack Obama arrived at Toledo Express Airport at 11:30 a.m. Friday before a crowd of about 50 well-wishers who were guests of family or friends who had special connections.
The President greeted people, shook hands and signed autographs for the crowd and departed in a limousine accompanied by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Mayor Mike Bell.
The president’s party made an unannounced visit to have lunch at Rudy’s Hot Dog on Sylvania Avenue on its way to the Chrysler Jeep Plant in North Toledo. Mayor Bell recommended lunch at Rudy’s since he is a regular customer, according to the owner.
Harry Dionyssiou, owner of Rudy’s, said suddenly the parking lot was full of police cars with lights flashing. They were told by an officer that the president’s party was coming for lunch.
“I was so surprised, I was speechless. I thanked him for choosing Rudy’s Hot Dog and asked him what he wanted to eat. The President said he liked hot dogs so I fixed him a hot dog with everything, fries, a bowl of chili and an iced tea,” Dionyssiou said.
After President Obama finished, the owner fixed him a jumbo hot dog with everything and said the president ate all of it.
Rudy’s Hot Dogs has been in business in Toledo for 90 years when Dionyssiou’s family opened the restaurant on Sylvania Avenue. It’s now located in a newer building after a theater on the site was torn down. They currently have six locations in the Toledo area.
The people coming out to greet the president’s party at the airport were invited by friends or relatives who had special connections with the president’s party. One woman said her son-in-law was the pilot of Air Force One.
The Martinez family was there as guests of their son, Captain Jeff Martinez of the U.S. Air Force, who is in charge of communications on Air Force One. They received a personal tour of the president’s plane from their son.
Jeannette James of Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Toledo was invited by the Secret Service agent who rented the limousines for the president’s motorcade. She said she’s provided limos for Vice President Biden and other dignitaries but never the president before this occasion.
This reporter, his wife Jane and brother Jeffrey Ramsey were invited by nephew Steven Ramsey of the U.S. Navy, who serves on the communications team for the White House. Although he was unable to make the trip to his hometown since he just returned from France, he made sure several of his relatives were present.
Steve is a native of Toledo, graduate of Rogers High School, and son of Carla Wooten of Toledo and Michael Ramsey of Lyons. He joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school and has served for 11 years.
His aunt, Laura Frost, a 27-year retired veteran of the U.S. Army was almost turned away from the welcoming party because she came in her Army uniform. We could not figure out why she couldn’t attend in uniform.
She was told by her nephew on the phone and the security people on-site that there were several other service men and women present who were not in uniform. They were asked not to wear their uniforms as it would be a distraction for the President and not fair to the rest of the crowd.
Ms. Frost finally agreed to remove her Army jacket and rank insignias from her blouse so she could enter the visitor’s area. She was able to obtain Obama’s autograph on a newspaper she brought with headlines about his election victory on it.
Several other people were turned away because they were not aware of the dress code for such occasions that doesn’t allow jeans, shorts or casual attire.
However, the enthusiastic crowd greeted the President with cheers, shaking hands, getting autographs and taking pictures of him before he departed the airport in the limousine and accompanying motorcade.
Security was evident at the National Flight Service terminal where Air Force One parked in front of the awaiting crowd. The Toledo Police bomb squad, bomb-sniffing dogs, numerous Ohio State Highway patrolmen and Secret Service agents patrolled the site.
It was exciting to see Air Force One land at Toledo Express Airport and President Obama emerging from the door and waving to the crowd.
We’ll never know how much President Obama will remember of his visit to Toledo on June 3, but hundreds of local residents who greeted his arrival, witnessed him having lunch at Rudy’s and heard him speak at the Chrysler Jeep Plant won’t soon forget every detail.