Jacks Valley man helps Secret Service with President’s visit
Jacks Valley resident Ben Reese had just finished moving a friend’s airplane and trailer on Thursday when he walked into the Minden-Tahoe Airport Office to find the Secret Service working on the plan for the president of the United States to conduct a rally.
“The Secret Service was going over a map to figure out what they were doing,” he said. “I was brave enough to look at the table and told them ‘this is pretty exciting for us.’”
Reese said he made a suggestion and they asked who he was.
The eight-year Douglas County resident leases a hangar at the airport and was previously in U.S. Air Force rescue and was a volunteer firefighter.
Once a volunteer, always a volunteer, so Reese found himself driving a contract security officer named Mike around the airport for a ground view.
“We rode around for a few minutes and he asked about the counter-protest,” Reese said. “He was very interested in that.”
With the arrival of President Trump confirmed for Saturday, Reese said he and wife Florence arrived at 4 p.m. when the gates were supposed to open. That was too late.
“We were one busload away from getting inside,” he said. “From what I saw there were more than 20,000 people and the bus line was never less than 6,000 people long.”
“I heard there were 28,000,” he said. “People were circled in a horseshoe around the whole parking lot. It was a really, really long line.”
The couple couldn’t get into the parking area and parked a couple of blocks south of Johnson Lane along Highway 395.
“It was surreal how many people were there,” he said. “It was quite amazing. People came from all over. Anyone who could drive on short notice.”
He said he saw a limo and someone waving from it while he was along the highway.
“I know they did that as a fakeout,” he said, because the president’s motorcade actually turned down Johnson Lane and turned on Heybourne Road.
He said he believes the motorcade with the president went through the Hutt Aviation gate, which had been rekeyed for the purpose.
“All the other gates were locked and disconnected from power,” he said.
Reese sells aircraft and said he has traveled extensively even with the coronavirus outbreak.
“Douglas and the surrounding counties are the heartbeat of America,” he said. “We have an eclectic group of people and a unique set of circumstances. We are seeing this movement happening around this country. I think President Trump is going to win by a landslide.”