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Virginia Volunteers Give Their All

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Virginia Campaign for Change Headquarters, Marshall St., Richmond: We waltz in on weekends, hubby and I, log on for a few hours of data entry, place a dozen or two Get Out the Vote phone calls, munch on goodies in the back-of-the-building kitchen, and call it a night. We're just two more foot soldiers, doing our bit to elect Barack Obama. I'd like to say we've given our blood, sweat, and tears for the cause, but that would be a gross exaggeration compared to some Marshall Street regulars who've been giving their all and then some.

They would be Cheryl, Eleanor, and Peggy. Cheryl Zando, volunteer coordinator down at headquarters, puts in seven days a week, working til the doors close for the night. Somehow she fits that in between trips to her "headache doctor" in Norfolk, a three-hour round-trip drive from downtown Richmond. You'd never suspect it from her cool, unruffled manner, but Cheryl suffers from migraines. I only know that because, on the night of Bill Clinton's Oct. 12 speech at Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University, as a crowd of us were heading over to the campus, I overheard her saying she had to skip the rally because she had a long drive to a doctor's appointment early the next morning. Wish I had just a touch of Cheryl's fortitude! (And I was tempted to stay home that night because I had a touch of indigestion.)

There's a line on the Campaign for Change volunteer sign-up form that reads "Yes, I will host an out-of-state volunteer in my home." Eleanor Buckley isn't an out-of-state volunteer. She's an out-of-country volunteer. Five weeks ago, the 2007 high-school graduate came from Kent, England to lend her IT skills to the Obama campaign. As a British subject, Eleanor can't vote in next week's election for President of the United States. But, inspired by Obama's historic candidacy, she's over here to do whatever she can. Two hundred and twenty-five years after the Revolutionary War, Eleanor is fighting for our side, and for change. Now that's a true revolutionary spirit!

Peggy Borgard is the mother of a grown son. But retired is a word that clearly doesn't exist in Peggy's vocabulary. She juggles her work as assistant to Richmond City Councilwoman Kathy C. Graziano with volunteer family counseling and part-time bookkeeping. Evenings on the sofa in front of the TV? Not a chance. Evenings and weekends are prime-time for Peggy as volunteer data-entry programmer at Obama campaign headquarters. Please, Peggy, after the election sit down and write a book on how you manage it all!

These three gals answered Obama's call and got down in the trenches day and night to work for a Change We Can Believe In. I salute them and all the volunteers at the Virginia Campaign for Change Headquarters.