This is the day President Barack Obama got to meet my brother, Curtis.
These photographs were taken in May 2010 when President Obama visited Solyndra facility (which was under construction at the time.) The plant was a big deal at the time because some of the funds ($535 million) used to build the facility came from the Department of Energy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obama’s visit was politically motivated to justify the government use of the funds. The company manufactured its solar products in the $733 million state-of-the-art robotic facility in Fremont, California, which opened in September 2010 and shut down in August 2011 and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. The entire affair resulted in a huge political scandal for the Obama administration.
But that’s not the part I’ll remember.
I’ll remember Curtis’ brush with history. Not everyone gets to shake the hand of a sitting President of the United States (leader of the Free World) nor the opportunity to show him around the job site. Looking back on the whole affair I would guess that even President Obama would agree that the best part of the day was getting the opportunity to meet Curtis Faulkner.
These two pictures are just awesome. I love the first because we get to see the moment they meet (with Curtis’ face and the president’s back.) But the second is my favorite. Notice the President’s hand on Curtis’ shoulder. I can just imagine the conversation. Curtis: “Now hold on a minute Mr. President! Nobody gets past this point without a hard hat!” Safety first!
Curtis recently retired and I’d be willing to bet this was not is favorite day on the job, but I bet it was one of the most memorable. We teased him about it for a long time. (Our brother Jon said he would have called in sick and I believe him.) The beautiful buildings are not back in operation, housing a new solar company after sitting vacant for a long time. Every time we pass by it, I stop and think about the hours of work Curt spent there and the brief moment in the national spotlight.
(To view more posts about my favorite photographs, click on the 1,000 Words category on this blog.)