This message goes out to all our volunteers and their families who patiently and devotedly helped promote our candidates and our values during this election. In particular, I want to point out one woman who died last week in a tragic accident here in Stillwater.
Rhon Schroeder was a #TrueBlue Democrat. I first remember meeting her on an afternoon in mid-October when she delivered a stack of completed calling sheets for Joe Dorman to our headquarters on Main Street.
We were putting together four large front window posters featuring our Democratic candidates before the election and she could tell it was going to take a while. A joke was made about the Beach Boys song, “Help Me, Rhonda.” With that, Rhon pointed out what her preferred name was and offered to stay for a couple of hours to help.
During that time, I got to know Rhon just slightly better and we discussed how we hoped that the work we were doing then would make a difference for any of our candidates on election day.
It’s hard being a Democrat in Oklahoma, even when you still have some hope before people have actually voted.
Later, I saw her on the Joe Dorman float in the Homecoming parade where she took a picture that she shared on our Facebook page, which we used on our website and everywhere because it was a picture of solidarity for our candidates.
A few days later, Rhon dropped off her remaining 11 Joe Dorman call sheets at our headquarters and sent me a message to tell me she had just early voted — for all the Democratic candidates. After I’d thanked her for her letting us use that photo and for all the work she’d done, this was the last thing she told me:
I’m sure I’ll be back to help at some point & time. I’ll be an empty nester one day & have nothing but time. #TrueBlue
I’m sad that won’t happen now. Would she have chosen to volunteer had she known that she was in the last month of her life? I don’t know and no one can, really. But I do believe that she must have cared right up to the end — people who don’t care, don’t participate.
Our thoughts and prayers go to her husband and three children because everything she did was for them and we should believe they were why Rhon supported us and our values over the other guys. Her family has suffered a great loss, but they should know we appreciated her while she was with us if only briefly.
Go hug your friends and family, tell them you love them, and that you want to spend time with them because tomorrow may never come. If you have any time left after that, then consider volunteering with us for them.
In case you haven’t noticed, I still really suck at saying thank you. We appreciate the hard work all our volunteers and supporters did this year, in past elections and going forward. We know they care or they wouldn’t do it.
Our candidates did better this year in Payne County than they did statewide, much better in some cases. We gave all of them a chance to win with our efforts, but just came up short. We are growing in numbers. It will not always be like this.
WE are all in this together.
Dennis Whiteman, Chair
Payne County Democrats