Like so many in the Owensboro area that grew up with a love for politics, former Daviess County High School graduate and self-professed Republican, Darla Tomes Eisemann spent a summer interning in Senator Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington, D.C.
Eisemann soon returned to Owensboro to work for then-Congressman Ron Lewis. While her passion for politics and the community was undeniable, it wasn’t until she heard Vice President George H.W. Bush speak at English Park in 1988 that she truly found her calling in public service.
Eisemann, who was a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and is now a senior budget analyst for the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., said that speech helped set her on the path to where she is today.
“I remember going to English Park and seeing then-Vice President Bush give this rousing speech,” Eisemann said. “It really kind of inspired me. He talked about service to country and working toward something bigger than yourself.”
That inspiration and example are what motivated Eisemann to leave three hours early for her job Tuesday, located just blocks from the Capitol building. Eisemann said the early hours offered her the opportunity to walk right into the Rotunda to view the president without having to wait in a large line.
Her husband, on the other hand, was not as lucky. Eisemann said he waited in line for five hours, four of which were spent in below-freezing temperatures, just to get a glimpse of the late president’s casket.
According to Eisemann, she and the thousands of others who went to pay their respects to the 41st president on Tuesday were able to sign a special guest book and receive a commemorative card after leaving the Rotunda.
“It’s a memento of this big event to celebrate his life,” Eisemann said of the card. “The Bush and Reagan example set me on the path for what I wanted to do with my life in public service.”
Eisemann said that there is one quote the late president said that she has tucked away and chooses to live by on a daily basis.
“No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.” ~ President George H.W. Bush