Lititz woman delivers invocation at Trump rally

By on October 5, 2016

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He’s tall and gregarious. He was wearing a pink tie in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And he wasn’t orange.

Those were some of the initial impressions Lititz resident Mary Lynn Lavender had of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump when she met him Saturday night at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim.

The “orange” reference was in regard to Trump’s much-talked-about complexion.

Lavender, an elected official with the Pennsylvania Republican Committee for the past eight years, was selected to deliver the invocation at Trump’s Saturday night rally.

She does not have a clergy background, so she had never done an invocation. Prior to Sept. 28, she never expected to.

The charismatic native of Queens, N.Y. (Trump’s hometown), was surprised and thrilled by the honor.

“I guess they thought, ‘She can stand up in front of 6,000 people and not get nervous,’” she said.

Lavender got the call Wednesday while she was getting a pedicure. A virus had recently deleted much of her phone’s contact list, so the incoming call was not identified. Normally, she wouldn’t answer an unidentified call, but the salon saved the day.

“Since I had my toes under the blow dryer, I had nothing better to do,” she said, “so I answered the phone.”

It was the state committee. They wanted her on stage, and she had three days to prepare.

She went to breakfast the next day with her good friend and fellow Republican committee woman Jeanne Grimsley. Together, they jotted ideas on a napkin that would focus on the common concerns of the nation, with references to 9/11 and the Nickel Mines Amish school tragedy. She completed the speech at home and then practiced her delivery with friends, shop owners in downtown Lititz, and her husband Barry.

“I’m just a regular person from Lancaster County, and that’s the way I wrote this speech,” she said. “I wanted to write something that would touch the hearts of everyone, but not overdo it.”

When Lavender took the stage, she wasn’t nervous. She’s a trained singer, but she’s never performed in front of a crowd like this.

“When I looked out, all I saw was a sea of people,” she said. “A sea of people wearing a lot of red.”

She was referring to the thousands of Make America Great Again! baseball caps that were a hot commodity that night.

Her two minutes at the podium were met with rousing applause when she talked about her husband’s service as a New York City police officer during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and somber reflection as she acknowledged the Nickel Mines anniversary. A contingent of Amish men at the event seemed to appreciate the mention, Lavender said.

It was a proud moment for her when the audience cheered for both her husband and their son, Zachary, who is currently a New York City police officer.

“It was like a tsunami of sound,” she said, during which she turned to her husband, who was standing in a VIP section, and blew him a kiss.

Afterward, she had a few moments to chat with Trump about their common Queens upbringing, and he posed for a photo.

“It was fantastic,” she said of the event and the experience. “The place rocked!”

Before the rocking took place, there was a lot of waiting for the crowd of 6,000, and Trump’s flight was two hours behind schedule due to bad weather, but that didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm local Republicans have for their candidate, a man they believe can strengthen America’s military and rejuvenate its economy.

“This is a wild political year,” Lavender said during a Monday morning breakfast interview in downtown Lititz.

She strongly believes respectful political discussion is important, no matter who you support, and the subject should not be taboo.

She also said the ongoing national discussion about Trump’s comments concerning women are not high priorities in her voting decision.

“Nobody’s perfect,” she said. “And do I like the fact that there is a woman going for the presidency? Sure I do. I think it’s a great thing that we have a woman candidate. It’s history, and good for her. But I do think Trump is going to win.”

We’ll find out on Election Day, Nov. 8.

Stephen Seeber is the associate editor of the Record Express. He can be reached at or 717-721-4423.


Mary Lynn Lavender’s Trump rally invocation

We Pennsylvanians are a very blessed people, myself included, for Donald Trump and I have some things in common.

We both spent our childhood days in Queens, N.Y. We have both seen, along with the nation, the evil, firsthand, of 9/11. My husband was an NYPD first responder, and now my oldest, following in the footsteps of his father, is a police officer too.

On that fateful day, and remembering the Nickel Mines tragedy, whose 10 year anniversary is tomorrow, we are reminded that we are all a people, neighbors, who are living together in one nation, under God.

Let us give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy. Let us also remember our fallen heroes who gave their lives for our freedoms, our current veterans, and our active military personnel. For without these brave Americans, justice and strength would not prevail. We, the people of the United States, cannot triumph without God’s grace, for our peace, prosperity, and liberty are divinely sanctioned according to the choices we make.

May the Lord bless our candidates, especially our presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, his family, and all those who advise and protect him.

May God help them all to win the war on terror, restore the American dream, strengthen our communities, prepare our students for a successful life, strengthen our families, and respect the rights of the unborn.

Grant that our leaders keep us safe and Make America Great Again! Now, let us all proclaim together, God bless America.


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