National Republican Senatorial Committee staff assistant Angela Zirkelbach says she was struck with Potomac Fever during her first visit to Washington, D.C., while her brother lived in town. A summer internship inspired her to return to the capital.
She recommends that anyone looking to start over in a new place maintain the kind of optimism she held onto after the tornado. “It’s easy to allow something like that to paralyze and to cripple a person,” she said, “but I really saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of the good that can come from it.”
She also recommends that people keep an open mind and be willing to start at the bottom. “Work hard. Come in early. Stay late. Say it with a smile on your face. And do a good job,” she said.
Although she lost most of her belongings in the tornado, Zirkelbach managed to bring more than just her optimism with her from Joplin; before she left, she and a friend chiseled off her address from the remains of her home.
“I moved that with me ... as a reminder that you never know what tomorrow brings,” she explained. “Every day I get to look at my little brick address.”
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.