Grand Aire took center stage for the national and local press on Monday as Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan held a campaign rally in our Corporate Hangar. The Wisconsin congressman addressed a crowd of approximately twelve hundred supporters with a rousing speech. Dozens of military veterans had the honor of viewing the talk from risers behind Ryan's podium. Grand Aire CEO Zachary Cheema, a Purple Heart recipient and service-disabled Marine who served three tours in Iraq, was lauded by Ryan as a great example of a successful small business owner.
The Congressman's appearance was delayed slightly to allow the crowd to view a live news feed of GOP nominee Mitt Romney's foreign policy address to the nation on a giant television screen. Former Governor Romney was at Grand Aire less than two weeks earlier to welcome back Honor Flight veterans. Several satellite trucks on the Grand Aire ramp provided the uplink for a live broadcast of Ryan's talk on cable news channels. Paul Ryan was introduced by Ryan Mack, 28, a service-disabled Army sergeant veteran wounded while serving in Afghanistan. He now works as a district representative in Defiance for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green). Congressman Latta addressed the crowd to kick-off the event.
Grand Aire serviced the Romney campaign Boeing 737 jet that the Ryan delegation used to travel to Toledo Express Airport. The congressman joked in the speech that Toledo reminded him so much of hometown Janesville, Wisconsin that he thought the plane made a u-turn in flight!
The Grand Aire hangar has been the site for several presidential political rallies over the years including campaign rallies for former President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. The hangar is utilized regularly for Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio and other large charter groups. It was also the venue for the Epic Rocks Fashion Show in September.