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Local families make trip to D.C. for inauguration
A-Inauguration pic 1
A view of the capital from the crowd during the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump. - photo by For the Dawson County News

A tumultuous presidential election season came to an eventful end last Friday when Donald John Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States and two Dawson County families made the trek to be a part of the historic occasion.

"It was very much a family journey," said Linda Clary Umberger.

The local member of the state committee of the Georgia Republican party and former chairman of the Dawson County Republican Party took her four kids to the inauguration after years of campaign efforts in multiple states.

Clary Umberger worked for Carly Fiorina as well as Marco Rubio in South Carolina and Florida.

She and her kids were sorting through options within the Republican Party, but Clary Umberger said her oldest son John was a Trump supporter from early on.

Her daughter, Abby, who is a senior at Wofford College struggled the most with voting for Trump, but concluded he was her choice based on foreign policy and the potential for creation of jobs within the United States.

"The irony is, the one who did the most [campaigning]-Nathan, isn't old enough to vote," she said.

The 17-year-old junior at Dawson County High School made two trips in the weeks before the election to help knock on doors and make phone calls in Florida.

He was also able to attend two of the presidential debates with his mother.

"Having my four children to celebrate this moment was the most significant thing," she said. "To start out on two different campaigns and then all be here was a whole family mission."

The family traveled all day Thursday for the inauguration and then spent time at Union Station on Saturday where they had civil conversations with protestors.

"Everyone we saw Saturday in Washington at Union Station was well-behaved and respectful," she said. "Two of the young men were wearing ‘Make America Great Again' hats but there were no issues. It was civil discourse."

The Umbergers also had the privilege of attending a lunch with Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. King is a former state representative for the 28th District in the Georgia House of Representatives.

She said that sitting and visiting with King made an impact on her kids.

Clary Umberger and another local Republican Party member Seanie Zappendorf requested their tickets to the event through Congressman Doug Collins office.

Clary Umberger thanked Collins, as well as Sen. Perdue, for efforts to ensure her family could attend.

She and Zappendorf said they were honored that their representatives would help in making sure they could get their families to the historic event.

"Being a part of history-whether you are for or against whoever is being inaugurated," Zappendorf said when asked about the importance of attending. "A lot of times people miss the point. I want to raise my kids in an environment where they have exposure to different historical events."

Zappendorf and her husband Ron traveled with sons Jack and Max to attend.

Jack missed an SAT test on Saturday morning and her son Max missed a swim meet.

Zappendorf's husband Ron also had to cancel a business trip to go, but she emphasized that the importance of the event was worth the sacrifices they made to get there.

The family had an invite to a luncheon hosted by Dr. Ben Carson, but had trouble reaching the venue on time due to foot traffic in the area.

"It took us three hours to go half a mile," she said with a laugh.

Her son, Jack, did get to meet the former presidential candidate as he was leaving the event.

Aside from thanking fellow party members like Umberger who Zappendorf said has helped educate her, she wanted to emphasize to people how important it is to learn about and be a part of the process.

"I want to encourage people to be involved," she said.

She also said people don't realize that with an event like this, they just have to request tickets through their congressman.

"It was a huge honor to receive the tickets," she said. "Thank you to Linda Umberger and Doug Collins."