Toledoans enjoy bus trip to inaugurationWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Stephanie Stelk, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
On the evening of Jan. 20, a bus filled with 55 excited Toledoans exited the Home Depot parking lot on Secor Road, en route to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C.
Toledo resident Michael Huggins organized the trip. For him, it was the second time he would make the journey in support of Obama. He also organized a bus trip from Toledo to Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.
For Huggins, the inspiration behind both trips was to uplift himself as a person as well as represent the city of Toledo in Washington D.C.
“It was something to represent the city of Toledo on the highest level,” Huggins said. “And to be able to have the pleasure of taking a group of Toledoans down as well and have them a part of the history down there.”
All but two of the riders — Huggins and another Toledo resident who attended the 2009 inauguration but not as part of the Toledo bus trip — were attending an inauguration for the first time.
The bus was filled with excitement and a sense of community, Huggins said, and once they arrived in Washington, D.C., the atmosphere got even better.
“The anticipation of seeing the president come out on the jumbo screen monitors was real uplifting,” Huggins said. “Everybody holding American flags, everybody screaming; it was real uplifting.”
One of the 55 people on the inauguration bus trip was Pastor Thomas Fant of St. Stephens African Methodist Episcopal Church in Toledo.
Fant, who attended Obama’s first inauguration with his oldest son, said he wanted to gain a new outlook on the event.
“This particular time, I felt it was important for me to experience the bus, the bus ride itself and to interface with others going down there and get that perspective as well,” Fant said.
Supporting the first African-American president was also motivation for both of his inaugural trips.
“I was a part of the Civil Rights Movement and to be a part of the first election of a black president was very important to me,” Fant said. “And the second term for him was even more important because the status quo did not want him to have a second term.”
Even though the trip was tiring, the excitement that began the trip carried through until the very end, Fant said.
“After experiencing the inauguration, we were even more upbeat and excited, and very proud that we were there,” Fant said.
Both Huggins and Fant see themselves heading back to Washington, D.C., in 2016 for the next presidential inauguration.
“They all said they want to go back with me in 2016,” Huggins said.