NAHAD Convention Sees Strong Turnout, Excellent Speaker

Jack Keough discusses the NAHAD convention's turnout and reacts to keynote speaker Andrew H. Card Jr., former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush. Card had attendees enraptured when he described the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Meeting under the theme of “The Power of Distribution,” nearly 1,000 people turned out for the 29th annual meeting of the National Association of Hose & Accessories Distribution (NAHAD) in Washington, D.C.

“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” said Joe Thompson, Executive Vice President of the association, in an interview on the convention’s second day. Although final figures won’t be known for a few days once on-site registrants are added in, it is apparent that this will be one of the largest turnouts in NAHAD’s history.

Andrew H. Card Jr., the keynote speaker and former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush had attendees enraptured when he described the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Card was with President Bush in Florida at an elementary school where Bush was reading to students as part of the “No Child Left Behind Act” when he learned of the attack. Card walked over to Bush and whispered into his ear that a second plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, indicating the country was under attack.

“I deliberately stood back away [from Bush],” Card said, so that Bush would not have the opportunity to respond as the president was sitting alongside children in a classroom setting. Bush absorbed the information, nodded, and not wanting to frighten the students, continued reading for another minute before leaving the room.  

During that day, and over the next few days, Card was a first-hand witness to the action and reaction to the attack by the Bush Administration to the worst terror attack ever to occur on American soil.

Card spoke slowly and deliberately as he recalled Bush, three days after the attack, standing on an overturned fire truck and using a bullhorn, began to thank rescue workers. One of those workers yelled, “We can’t hear you.”

Bush responded: “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked down these building will hear from all of us soon.” Those words will always be a part of American history.

He also recalled Bush meeting with the families of the victims in a private area of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in N.Y.  Bush refused to speak from a podium, Card said, instead wanting to spend time with each individual family. As he left the families, a woman handed Bush her husband’s firefighting badge. The firefighter, George Howard, had been killed in the World Trade Center attack. She urged Bush to always remember the attack. As she handed him the badge, Card recalled that tears were streaming down the president’s face as he clasped the badge promising the woman, “I will never forget.”

Card spoke for more than an hour and drew a standing ovation. 

Card, who has worked in three different presidential administrations, is now the Acting Dean at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Some of the members, when asked for their reaction about the speech by Card, said it was the best presentation they had heard at a NAHAD convention.

“I just felt he did a terrific job,” said Ed Fabacher, President of Fabacher Inc. and a founder and past president of the association. “You couldn’t help but be moved by his comments.”

Other members called it “spellbinding” and “gripping.”

In other NAHAD news, Dick Goodall, the CEO of Dixon Valve & Coupling Company, was presented with the prestigious George W. Carver Award. Goodall, a well-known figure in the manufacturing and distribution business, has assisted his company’s growth through a series of strategic acquisitions, as well as helping Dixon establish a global presence. Goodall is heavily involved in his local community in a number of civic areas. The award was created in the name of George W. Carver, a founding father and third president of NAHAD.


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