Local passengers on "whistle-stop"

January 7, 2009 8:43:32 PM PST
As we approach January 20th, plans for the Barack Obama's inauguration as president are taking shape.One of the pre-inaugural highlights will originate in Philadelphia.

The road to the inauguration starts at 30th Street Station for president-elect Barack Obama. Next Saturday, he will board an Amtrak train there, retracing Abraham Lincoln's journey to Washington. It's being called a "whistle-stop" tour.

Along the way, the train will stop in Wilmington to pick up vice president-elect Joe Biden.

Also along for the trip, a couple of local residents who've caught Biden's eye over the years.

That includes fourth grade teacher Quincy Lucas, and her class at Silver Lake Elementary in Middletown is basking in the reflected glory.

Lucas has been a tireless advocate for domestic violence awareness since her sister was killed six years ago.

Along the way she has worked with Biden and his son Beau, Delaware's Attorney General.

Biden even tapped her to introduce him at the Democratic National Convention last August.

She says it has been a head spinning ride.

"I am overwhelmed, I'm excited, I'm humbled, I'm grateful and thankful for the opportunity," Lucas said.

Lucas is one of 40 everyday Americans who've been chosen to ride with Obama and Biden.

Another is Amtrak conductor Gregg Weaver of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.

Much of Biden's "Average Joe" appeal is the fact that he never moved to Washington. Instead, he commuted daily on Amtrak from his home near Wilmington.

Over the years, Biden became friendly with Weaver and the two men have formed a close bond.

Weaver and Lucas both got the call on New Year's Day telling them they would be aboard the train, bound for history.

"We had coffee occasionally, we'd talk about our families, our grandchildren, our parents, our kids. Talk about life, and a lot of different things over the years," Weaver said.

Weaver and Lucas have also been invited to the inauguration ceremony and the ball.

Lucas is hoping for some face-to-face time with Obama to talk about domestic violence.

But, mostly she's just happy to be part of history.

"I believe God has prepared me for this and I'm not saying 'no," she said.

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