Democratic National Convention 2012 Notebook: DNCC gathers gifts for overseas N.C. troops

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When I spoke with Democratic National Convention CEO Steve Kerrigan this past summer, he emphasized his team’s commitment to community service. On Wednesday, he put that commitment in action, as staff of the convention and host committees gathered at Time Warner Cable Arena — the site the 2012 convention — assemble 500 care packages for N.C. troops serving overseas.

For some, it was personal. Judy Corley, the DNCC general counsel, has a 25-year-old nephew, Clifford Corley, serving in Afghanistan as a drone mechanic. “I’m going to send him a box,” she said.

He’ll open it to find a bit of North Carolina: local sports-team memorabilia and coupons for future Bobcats tickets; snacks, including Lance Crackers; scenic postcards; practical items including soap, shampoo, sunscreen, notebooks, pens and AT&T phone cards; and letters from students at Allenbrook Elementary, where DNCC staff members volunteer as tutors and mentors. “We want to give back; it’s part of being an American,” Kerrigan said, praising the community partners that donated items. The troops have “sacrificed so much for our country and North Carolina."

Kay Cunningham, adviser to the DNCC chief of staff, sat at a long table of volunteers, composing a hand-written letter. She said no one would mention the political. Her message would be inspirational and personal, she hoped, thanking each man and woman for serving our country. “It’s a small price to pay for such great sacrifice.” The DNCC chief of staff, Travis Dredd, served in the Marine Corps from 1993 through 2000. “It’s an honor that I am able to be here today,” he said. “I appreciate them 100 percent.”

Kerrigan said his team is also participating in food drives and Toys for Tots. Though Wednesday’s event was strictly nonpartisan, he couldn’t resist a jab when I asked about the confident prediction of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, an N.C. Republican, that the GOP will win the state in the 2012 presidential election. “I heard something like that in October 2008,” said Kerrigan, referring to the time period right before President Obama’s razor-thin N.C. win.

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In other DMC news, the Charlotte 2012 Convention Host Committee is looking for poster designs from across the country; one will be an official poster of the 2012 convention in Charlotte. Submissions should include the convention logo — but not promote any official or political party — and interpret one theme chosen from the following: Americans Coming Together, Building a Better Future, and Opportunity and Empowerment. The winner will receive a framed print and $1 from each copy sold from the host committee online store. Deadline is Dec. 31. For more information, go to www.charlottein2012.com/postercontest

Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Washington Post, The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TV’s Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.

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