Talk of an upcoming press conference flooded the office like a tsunami. Listening intently on conversations and conference calls, while sifting through various e-mails was truly the only way I could keep up. I had never been to a press conference let alone planned one.
The month leading up to the press conference, everyone was working on a very strict timeline. Who knew that a press release shouldn’t be released too early or too late? Or that social media should blast all at once to create the highest exposure? I didn’t, but as the weeks counted down things were falling into place. By the time I walked through the doors of the FAIR school the day of the press conference, we had plenty of PR artillery and were ready for action.
My main priority leading up to the press conference was to keep a running guest list of some of the most highly recognized and influential people in our state. The governor’s office, congressional delegates, admirals, generals, superintendents, veteran organization leaders, media teams and Fortune 500 corporate leaders just to name a few (and let’s not forget the most important attendee, Medal of Honor recipient Tom Kelley). As the RSVP’s came in, I was amazed at the amount of people that wanted to show their support by attending. Before then, I had no idea people actually attended press conferences; I thought they only aired on TV.
Details swirled in my mind while I scrambled around the theatre room in the hour before the press conference. Keeping track of everything was exhausting; from acknowledging important persons and news stations to making sure everyone had name-tags and copies of the run-of-show, I was surviving on pure adrenaline. My lack of extensive military knowledge showed again when we had an issue with the flags. I hadn’t known flags couldn’t touch the ground!
The audience took their seats and the speakers walked up on stage. There was nothing left to do besides watch as a month of planning (with plenty of blood, sweat and tears) culminated right in front of me. News cameras pointed at the impressive stage and the room became silent. Everyone was there for his or her own reason that day, but left feeling the same way: inspired.
I was told an average press conference is informational and the speakers stoic. The storytelling of this press conference was so passionate and personal that it was clear to see that the people donating their time and resources to this convention have a special place in their hearts dedicated to those who have defended our freedom. I can now say I have some knowledge about how a press conference is run, but the biggest thing I left that day with was gratefulness. I am grateful to be part of a non-profit, but what is so fulfilling is that this particular non-profit thrives off of passion for those who serve our country.