There were 48 hours of uncertainty that the convention might have to be delayed because of the backwash of the violent storms striking the Gulf Coast. But Treb couldn’t wait for confirmation to instruct his inflation crew and put these newly minted experts to work on the complex compression lines Treb set up on the convention floor. There, several dozen students, working in groups of four, inflated and tied 100,000 balloons in about five hours, during which 19 rolls of tape were used on aching fingers.
Once the balloons were inflated and distributed among the rafters above the conventioneers in 18 carefully pre-arranged stations, it became a waiting game.
“I had a chance, then, to take a deep breath and think,” Treb said. “ I was seated near the top of the press rows, about 50 feet from the speakers. You get a different perspective there. You feel awed when you find yourself that close to history being made, when you realize what you are seeing a few feet away is being sent out to the far corners of your country and the world.”