Boone County Democrat Executive Committee Director Sue Ann Zickefoose said her encounter with Kennedy and his sister during the 2004 presidential campaign will "last in my memory forever."
Democrats in the county were preparing to receive Kennedy, who along with his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Senators Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller were travelling to the area to campaign for John Kerry.
"It was on the weekend, and we had the Madison Civic Center for the event," Zickefoose said. "I remember that the center was beginning to fill up and our guests were late." Unknown to the Boone Democrats, the bus had broken down on U.S. 119 between Charleston and Madison."
After then Chief Deputy Rodney Miller and several other members of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department collected the visitors off the side of the road, the event was able to begin.
"I was on stage, sort of behind Ted Kennedy and his sister Eunice. She turned around to greet me and saw my Robert Kennedy for President button and got overcome with emotion," Zickefoose said. "She pulled on Ted Kennedy’s sleeve and he saw the badge and smiled. He said, ‘thank you very much, you don’t know how much that means to both of us."
Sen. Kennedy spoke to the audience and thanked them for their hospitality to both the Democrat Party and the Kennedy family.
"I was here in 1960, campaigning for my brother John, and you all were so nice to me," he said. "I feel a bond with you all, since it was West Virginia that put my brother over the top and ensured his election as president."
Zickefoose added, "I felt like the Kennedy family was part of my family. They held the same beliefs as I did and still do. They are for taking care of the little man. That family knew that since they were given the benefits they were, they owed it to their fellow Americans to help everyone achieve the American dream."
On her desk, Zickefoose has a series of political items spread out, preparing to hang a sort of "memory wall" next to her desk to commemorate the life of Senator Kennedy.
"As a member of the Boone County Democrat Executive Committee I’ve been honored to meet many national political figures."
Her wall is lined with photos of political figures such as Hillary Clinton, former present Bill Clinton and Sen. Kennedy with her.
"They have inspired me to be a better American and a more determined Democrat," she said. "We all owe the young Americans a better future than we have seen."