It was a fairly typical Friday at Tom Raper RVs in Richmond, Ind. Until the White House called, that is.
Seems the vice president of the United States wanted a motorhome to relax in before and after his speech Monday (Sept. 5) at the Cincinnati AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day picnic at Coney Island, the Richmond Palladium-Item reported.
Ed Unger, director of corporate operations for Tom Raper, first took a phone call Friday from the AFL-CIO, asking if the Richmond recreational vehicle company would be willing to provide a motorhome for Vice President Joe Biden.
Unger said yes. Then the White House advance staff called — first to say thanks for filling the need on short notice, then to work out the key details.
Unger brought in one of his sons — he has four who work for the company — to help meet the request.
“Dad was pretty surprised (to get those calls),” Eddie Unger, sales manager at Tom Raper, said Sunday.
Biden’s temporary home was a 2008 Phaeton, a 40-footer made by Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. in Red Bay, Ala. The vehicle was delivered Sunday so Biden’s staff could make sweeps and security checks before the vice president climbed aboard.
“President Obama took a lot of heat for using a million-dollar bus made in Canada (during his recent bus tour),” Eddie Unger said. “They requested the one for Biden be made in America and I wanted to make sure it was one we actually sold new at Tom Raper so we could get some recognition, too.”
Eddie Unger included one request of the White House: A chance to meet and shake Biden’s hand, and perhaps have a photograph taken with the nation’s second-in-command. The White House agreed to the request and Unger attend the event on Monday.
Biden’s speech was expected to fire up the troops on the biggest issue to face organized labor in Ohio in decades — the effort to pass a referendum doing away with Senate Bill 5, which would limit public employees’ bargaining rights, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week. At least 15,000 area union members and their families attended the annual picnic.