By Doug Livingston
While President Barack Obama was at V&M Star on Tuesday, Boardman cousins Joey Kordupel and Noah Pecchia got their own presidential experience — a tour of Air Force One.
Judy Kordupel, Joey’s mom, has a college friend who is a navigator for Air Force One. Last week, after Tuesday’s trip was announced, the two friends connected and made plans for an exclusive tour while the plane sat at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna Township.
“It’s so hard to put into words,” Judy said of the tour, which included her husband, Joe.
The family completed an application to partake in the tour and passed a rigorous background check by Sunday. That was in addition to getting the day off from work and getting the boys out of school.
The youngsters shivered in the cold as they waited for the tour to begin once the motorcade left the airport. With rain pattering the boys’ neatly combed hair, Judy pinned small silver stars to their collared dress shirts. The pins were given to the family by the Secret Service.
On board, the family was given a tour by the pilot. Inside the president’s quarters, where the first family gathers, the boys reveled in the fact that they now stood where Sasha and Malia Obama frequently play.
The switches and controls in the cockpit mesmerized the boys.
“This is the coolest thing I ever saw,” said Noah, according to Judy.
But the memorable trip could not be caught on film. For security reasons, pictures were not allowed, which worries Judy just a bit.
“I don’t know if they will remember,” she said.
The family said that the president’s staff was very accommodating and cordial. They spent more than an hour on board.
For the record, the Kordupels are registered Democrats and fully support Obama’s administration. But they feel the tour transcends politics.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Judy said. “If you could be on that airplane to see the history and magnitude of what our country is about, …”
“... You’re going to be proud.”
Tuesday night, hours after walking off the plane, the boys were still wearing their silver stars — pinning them to the dry clothes they changed into.