Hurricane Victim Thanks President Bush -- Yes, Thanks...
July 7, 2008 - 8:23 PM
(CNSNews.com) - In the "Bush-hating" environment that seems to pervade the nation -- to hear the polls tell it -- President Bush found at least one grateful American on Wednesday -- a man named Rockey Vaccarella.
Vaccarella, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, towed his FEMA trailer from St. Bernard Parish, La., to Washington, arriving on Tuesday.
Rockey invited President Bush to come for dinner in the trailer Tuesday evening, but Bush met with him Wednesday morning instead -- in front of the TV cameras, just the two of them.
I know we're coming up on the first anniversary of Katrina, Bush said, noting that "Rockey lost everything."
President Bush said, "It's a time to remember that people suffer, and it's a time to recommit ourselves to helping them, but I also want people to remember that a one-year anniversary is just that -- because it's going to require a long time to help these people rebuild."
The president thanked Rockey for his spirit -- and Rockey returned the compliment by showing his spirit.
"You know, it's really amazing when a small man like me from St. Bernard parish can meet the president of the United States," Rockey said.
Rockey, calling the president a "people person," said his mission was simple: "I wanted to thank President Bush for the millions of FEMA trailers that were brought down there. They gave roofs over people's head. People had a chance to have baths, air conditioning. We have TV, we have toiletry -- we have things and necessities that we can live upon.
"But now I want to remind the president that the job's not done, and he knows that. And I just don't want the government and President Bush to forget about us.
"And I just wish the president could have another term --
"Wait a minute!" Bush laughed.
Rockey continued: "I wish he had another four years, man. If we had this president for another four years, I think it would be great. But we're going to move on. Mr. President, it's been my pleasure."
"You're a good man, Rockey," President Bush said.
"You are too," he replied.
Vaccarella told the Troy, Ala., newspaper, The Messenger, that he got the idea for his "trailer tour" while watching a tape of him and his son stranded on their rooftop as the hurricane blew through. He believes they were the only people caught on tape at the height of the storm.
Rockey reportedly planned to present the president with a "million-man" cleanup proposal for the Gulf Coast
"We are all familiar with the Million Man March," The Messenger quoted him as saying. "If we can get a million 'men' to march, surely we can get a million people to help clean up the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and rebuild our land."
Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.