Gift Basket of Goodwill for Paul Ryan in Nelson County

October 8, 2012

When news broke that Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was in town for a few days, volunteers with the Nelson County Democratic Committee had a decision to make.

"We could just ignore that he was up there or we could organize a protest, or we could be welcoming," said Sharon Ponton, Democratic committee chair.

The group decided on the latter, delivering a gift basket of homegrown treats, including a bottle of beer from Blue Mountain Brewery and wine from Democracy Vineyards in Lovingston.

Ryan arrived in Virginia on October 4 to spend a few days at Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County preparing for his debate with Vice President Joe Biden. Democratic volunteers Ed and Ginger Fries live at Wintergreen and offered to make the delivery to their new political neighbor. "I walked down and a secret service guy saw me so he came up to stop by me I told him the deal," Ed Fries said.

Secret service agents weren't sure what to do with the gift basket. But after a security team examined the package, they agreed to make the delivery. Agents told the Fries they had never seen anything like it.

"There's so much polarization and obstructionism in our government and legislative bodies and nobody is getting anything done to the detriment of everybody in our country," said Ponton. "This was a way of showing civility and letting him know a little about our county."

There is one message Ginger would have like to deliver to the vice presidential candidate in person. "I would have said, welcome to the prettiest place on earth."

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