OOIDA members essential to upcoming presidential inauguration

| Tuesday, January 06, 2009

With President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration less than two weeks away in Washington, DC, two OOIDA members are already prepping for their journeys to the nation’s capitol.

On a good day, truck drivers have a hard enough time trying to maneuver through the city. With an estimated 2 million people expected to descend on the city in the days leading up to the swearing-in of the 44th president, it’s a logistical nightmare for truckers.

Both OOIDA members Tim Barrett Sr. of Dunlap, TN, and Donald Snare of Gainesville, GA, are trying to account for every “what if” to ensure their precious cargo makes it to DC in time for the inauguration. Barrett is hauling the giant LED screen that will allow spectators to view Obama’s swearing-in. Snare is hauling the fuselage of an Air Force One replica, which will be part of a presidential exhibit on display in DC from Jan. 16 to Jan. 24.

Both Barrett and Snare feel honored to be tapped for these important roles; however, they said the security clearance process has been their biggest obstacle so far.

“Hopefully I have done everything I need to do and have planned for everything,” Snare told Land Line Magazine on Monday, Jan. 5. “I’ve given myself an extra day in there just in case I run into any bad weather because I don’t want to be late.”

Snare is already en route to pick up the Air Force One replica in Roscoe, IL.

The giant LED screen Barrett will be hauling to DC was also used at the Olympics in Beijing, China. This will be Barrett’s second trip with the screen. He picked up the specially designed trailer from the Port of Long Beach after it was shipped back after the Olympic Games.

However, he said this is his first gig actually running both the trailer and the screen at the inauguration.

“This is my maiden voyage running the screen. I am definitely learning a new trick here, but I’m open to it,” Barrett told Land Line on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

He said the screen is self-contained in a 53-foot step-deck trailer that’s been cut down to a 50-foot trailer. On the front end of the trailer where it hooks into the truck is the control room for the screen. Barrett said the back end of the trailer houses the power plant, which provides electricity to the screen. The middle of the trailer is where the two-piece screen is housed.

“One piece of the screen lifts up and does a 180-degree turn, then sets down on the second piece, which is attached and plugged in and then becomes the giant screen, which is then lifted into the air, similar to a forklift,” Barrett said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer