Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Trump rally participants get ready to perform the cruise.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD/THATCHER – Citing the need to get out the vote this November, local republicans gathered in the parking lot of the Sparks Homestore on Saturday morning for a pro-Trump rally and cruise to spread the word.
The event was the brainchild of Katie Featherman, who posted the planned event on social media. After seeing the post, Julia Newlin contacted Featherman and then assisted with the organization. The two – with the help from the Graham County Republican Party – handed out flags, signs, and other information.
“Katie had this wonderful idea to bring our community together and just celebrate Trump – celebrate our country,” Newlin said. “And so, we decided to throw this together.”
“We just want to be here for our community and want to have an opportunity to show our love for this country – our support for our President – and just to get out and be a community together. We’re so excited to see everybody here.”
The peaceful rally brought out a variety of prominent members of the community, including government leaders such as Safford City Councilmen Michael Andazola Sr. and Arnold Lopez, Graham County Republican Chairman John Duane Rhodes, and the “Mayor of Eden” Clint Colvin.
Rhodes thanked Fetherman for getting the rally together and those in attendance. He said the upcoming election was very important for conservative issues.
“We can’t afford to let the liberal left take over,” Rhodes said. “We need to get Donald Trump re-elected.”
“We need to get people out to vote,” added Colvin. “We’re showing our support at this peaceful demonstration today. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
After all the vehicles were readied for the cruise, Newlin and Featherman addressed the crowd and thanked them for their attendance. The pair then led the group with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer before beginning the cruise, which went through Thatcher and Safford and concluded at Thatcher Park.
Mike and Ronda Spenger, of Safford, joined the rally and cruise on their motorcycle.
“We love Trump,” Ronda Spenger said. “Our freedoms are at risk. This (election) is a very big deal. We really need to just get out and show our support. And everybody needs to get out and vote.”
Mike and Laura Parker, of Thatcher, and Dora Perez, of Central, rode in the cruise in a UTV emblazoned with “Latinos for Trump” on the side.
“It’s an amazing thing to do to support our President Trump and Republicans in Graham County,” Laura Parker said. “We’re looking forward to taking over 2020.”
Gila Valley Color Guard Captain Steve Oller and member Bob Lane brought their bikes to take part in the rally and cruise.
“We came down here to ride in it,” Lane said. “As a veteran and for our concerns as veterans we want to keep Trump where he’s at.”
“We like the direction the country is going,” Oller added. “He (Trump) ain’t perfect but he’s the best shot we’ve got.”
To see more pictures from the event, see our photo album here.