Vincent Scalise of the New York National Guard was deployed to Washington, D.C., to help safeguard it following the deadly Capitol riot, but he was able to find a bright side to the mission after he was able to take a photograph with all 100 current senators.
The National Guard was divided into two teams – Team Senate and Team House – and Scalise found himself working in the Senate buildings.
The nearly two-month task started after Scalise spotted Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, and she agreed to take a picture with him. He saw Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, the next day, and one of his fellow officers asked if Scalise planned to get a picture with every senator.
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Scalise figured, “Why not?”
His mission stagnated after a month and a half at around 54 senators, and he tried to look at committee schedules to figure out who he might run into.
“Then I was told I couldn’t work the committees anymore, and I got discouraged, I thought I wasn’t going to do it,” Scalise told Fox News.
He started visiting open offices and speaking with senate staffers, and he picked up some momentum again until he hit 77: At that point, no senator wanted to be left out of the collection.
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“I got a lot of help from Senator Cassidy,” Scalise explained. “He really helped me, last night, to get the last ten or so.”
“He asked me, ‘Where are you?’ and I told him I was by the elevator and he said ‘Wait there.’ I told him who I was missing, and he went right into the senate chamber and started pulling them out.”
“When I finally got to number 100, I couldn’t believe it,” Scalise added.
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Scalise said he enjoyed meeting everyone, but that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was especially nice: She gave him a brief tour of the senate chamber after their photo.
Of all the missions he has worked, Scalise ranked the Capitol mission as top of his list.
“You can’t help but be in awe,” Scalise said.
Born and raised in Utica, Scalise’s family had a history of serving in the National Guard. When he returns to the Utica armory, he’ll add the photos to the mission display for everyone to see.
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After that, “you best believe” he’ll put the photos up in his home office.