Q-C ball celebrates second Obama victory


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Originally Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 10:29 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 22, 2013, 7:10 am
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By Sarah Hayden, shayden@qconline.com

President Barack Obama's second inauguration was celebrated in grand style Monday night at the RiverCenter in Davenport.

Awash in white lights with banners draped from the ceiling, the ballroom hosted more than 300 people in their finest ball gowns and suits who dined while listening to the Antoine Catalfano Jazz Quartet and the Funktastic 5.

Rosemary Harris said she had been looking forward to the ball for a while. The campaign volunteer was rewarded with an invitation to have lunch with President Obama during his last visit to the Quad-Cities on Oct. 24 at Antonella's Pizzeria in Davenport.

"We didn't know we were going to meet the president," she said. "They said they were buying us lunch for working so hard on the campaign. I thought it was strange that Secret Service was hanging around outside."

Organized by Cathy Bolkcom, Lou Ann Goral and Suzanne Golden, the Quad Cities Inaugural Ball raised money for Winnie's Place, a homeless women's shelter sponsored by Churches United, while letting many of the president's campaign volunteers again celebrate his victory.

"I've been working in politics for 65 years. Obama was a great victory," said Ms. Golden. "I met him when he was in the state legislature. I told him if he ever ran for anything else, I'd be happy to support him."

Her daughter, Helane Golden, also was an Obama volunteer. Her work was rewarded with an invitation to the White House to have dinner with the president.

Liz Sherwin on Monday night sat at a table surrounded by friends. The president of the Rock Island County NAACP said she's been involved with the community and the Democratic Party for more than 40 years.

"I'm just happy. I figured we'd never have an African-American president in our lifetime," she said. "He's gotten so much done. There are people who try to make sure he's not successful, and that's sad."

Ms. Sherwin said she was in the room with President Obama when he announced his run for the U.S. Senate.

"I used to see him in the halls down in Springfield," she said. "He said if he won the senate seat, he was going to come back to the Quad-Cities and have a little party for us -- and he did."

Ms. Sherwin said she and Ms. Bolkcom are old community organizers who have worked together on many projects.

Ms. Bolkcom said Monday's inaugural events felt momentous and had more gravity than when President Obama was elected in 2008. This time, she said, people are more sober about the problems the country is facing.

She said she wanted to have an inaugural ball for those unable to travel to Washington, D.C.

"I felt a sense of hopefulness today," she said. "It's all about building the community, as our president said."

Earlier Monday, Augustana College professor John Hildreth and 20 to 25 faculty, staff and students watched President Obama's inauguration address in the Carlsson Evald Great Hall.

"I think he (Obama) recognized the challenges ahead," Mr. Hildreth said. "We, the people, have to do it together and we need to stop all of this division. I think he hoping to overcome that and bring people along to understand that we are all in this together."





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