Redstone worker volunteers for presidential inauguration

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Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:00 pm

While you’re watching the presidential inauguration on television Jan. 21, just think how nice it would be to be among the participants. You might wish to swap places with Ann Troupe-Simmons.

She has been selected to serve as a volunteer at the 57th presidential inauguration. Based on her skills and interest, she was chosen to serve the president at the swearing-in/parade way-finding on Jan. 21.

“Oh I was so excited,” said Troupe-Simmons, a telecommunications assistant at the Network Enterprise Center-Redstone. “I was really excited.”

She has a sister who lives in the Washington, D.C., area, so they were already planning to attend the inauguration. But Troupe-Simmons decided to volunteer to serve as a participant. She submitted an online application Dec. 28 to Marquita Sanders, director of volunteer operations for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee; and she was notified of her selection Jan. 7. About 18,000 volunteers are selected from 50,000 applicants.

“I like politics,” said Troupe-Simmons, 53, who graduated from Alabama A&M University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minor in speech language pathology.

Her sister Teresa Hill lives in Ruther Glenn, Va., south of D.C., and works at Fort Belvoir for the Defense Logistics Agency. “We were going to go (to the inauguration) anyway. So I decided since I’m going to be there, maybe I can volunteer for the inauguration,” Troupe-Simmons said. Her sister didn’t volunteer but still plans to attend.

Troupe-Simmons will leave today for Washington and will have mandatory volunteer training Thursday. She plans to be in Washington through Jan. 22.

Originally from Belle Mina, she moved from Huntsville to Triana in 1988 and has been active in the Triana community ever since. She became involved with the youth department, which is part of the mayor’s office. She was also a representative from Triana with the Madison city board of education. She has also worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

In 2009, Troupe-Simmons attended the presidential inauguration celebration at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham with co-worker Khaleeh Muhammad.

She started working at Redstone in 1981 and has been with NEC-R the last 20 years, two in her current job.

Her son Justin Purnell, 30, resides in Oakland, Calif. Her daughter, Danielle Simmons, 26, resides in Madison with grandson Ethan Whorton, 4.

“I like to play the tambourine,” she said of her hobbies. “I like to work in my garden – I love plants. And I like to write poetry and short stories.”

Serving as a volunteer at the inauguration for President Barack Obama is extra special to her as an Alabama native, according to Troupe-Simmons.

“Just to be from a place, Alabama, historically with the civil rights movement, the sacrifice, the deaths toward the Civil Rights Act. Just to see what my ancestors didn’t get to see, this movement. It’s sort of like an answer to their prayers,” she said. “To live in a country that looks beyond color, that sees you as a person, it’s just unreal to me.”

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