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Coach Pat

Pat H

It was 1969. I had just graduated with a degree in history and political science. In a few weeks, I would be facing my students at Alpena High School as a new teacher. It was a daunting prospect. What did I have to offer these young people, some of them only 4 years younger than myself? So as I often do, I made a list - 'Top Ten' things that I wanted them to learn about the history and government of our country.

Near the top of my list was: "Make the case for the right and the responsibility of participation in our nation's democracy." Little did I know that over 40 years later, I would participate in our democracy as an Organizing Fellow working to re-elect President Barack Obama.

The e-mail came just after I retired last summer. I almost didn't respond - "Fall Fellow" sounded like it was for young people. But on a whim, I sent in my resume. I'd almost forgotten about it and was ready to leave for my retirement cruise to Alaska when the call came. "Would I make the commitment to help re-elect the President?" How do you say no to that?

I said "yes" and became an organizing fellow. I had the time of my life as I talked with supporters in the Highland Park area of St. Paul. Over 12 weeks, I made 2000 phone calls, talked with 350 people, and met personally with 80. I told them my story and listened to theirs, and we talked about why we were committed to the President's re-election. I helped them find a way that they could participate.

I have stayed with the campaign and now train and coach new organizing fellows. If you love people, if you are persistent and proactive, if you are passionate about re-electing the President, consider becoming a fellow. You will work hard, meet great people, and have the experience of a lifetime!

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