By Bill Begley

Killeen Daily Herald

A start delayed by a big storm couldn't dampen Borah Van Dormolen's enthusiasm.

"We were sort of in a day-by-day mode as we all held our breath waiting on news from the hurricane," Van Dormolen said Tuesday from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. "Now things are going full-bore."

Van Dormolen, attending her second national convention – she was in New York for the 2004 festivities – is one of a number of delegates from the area taking part in the GOP's showcase.

The Republicans are cramming four days of convention business into three, with the decision to essentially postpone Monday's schedule while awaiting news of effects of Hurricane Gustav's arrival along the Gulf Coast.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster, with the peaks and valleys, waiting for news," Van Dormolen said, "but we're just glad things were not as bad as they could have been. Our thoughts and prayers here were with the people having to deal with things down there."

As soon as the convention began in earnest Tuesday, Van Dormolen was in full-speed-ahead mode.

"We're here as a delegation to take care of party business ? and we did the business that needed to be done," said Van Dormolen, an at-large delegate and part of a group from Bell County that included Bell County delegate Dave Palmer and alternate at-large delegate Molly White. "Right now, we are energized, excited and united. This is going to be a historic convention."

While the spotlight focused on Palin on Wednesday, the true focus, Van Dormolen said, is on McCain and his bid for the presidency.

"I think the real goal is to ensure we recognize the qualities and priorities Senator McCain will bring as president – that, in two words, is country first," Van Dormolen said.

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