Keynote speaker Mark “Oz” Geist, Arapahoe County GOP Chair Rich Sokol, Kristina and Jay Davidson
In Arapahoe County, GOP stands for Great Opportunity Party.
Not only did the county’s Republican officials, candidates and residents contribute to the sold-out crowd for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, but several other counties were also represented.
The draw was Mark “Oz” Geist, a member of the Annex Security Team that fought the Battle of Benghazi, Libya Sept. 11-12, 2012. A Colorado native, Mark joined the Marine Corps in 1984. After serving 12 years, he had several roles in law enforcement in his home state.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Dick Wadhams
He finished his career as a security contractor in Benghazi and was credited with helping to save the lives of more than 25 Americans. He is still recovering from injuries he sustained in the battle. Fortunately, his initial surgery was conducted in Tripoli by Libyan doctors who were trained in America.
He is co-author of the best-selling book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi. 13 Hours is also a movie.
“Anyone can tell you what you want to hear,” Geist began, “but do they serve with honor and integrity?”
He ended up in Benghazi because the ambassador was in town. There was low security to monitor eight acres. More security had been repeatedly requested.
Colorado GOP Chair Jeff Hays and wife Gina, Cherry Hills Village Councilmember Katy Brown, state Rep. Perry Buck and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck
“Oz” was staying on an adjacent smaller compound the size of a football field and invited Ambassador Stevens to stay there, but he did not. When the battle began, even with military ready to go, orders were given three times to stand down. With no thought of selves, he and his remarkable team went in.
“Adrenaline is a powerful drug,” Geist said. “Ingenuity and determination got us out. We didn’t need the administration. That’s how we live our lives.”
He said that under President Trump the military morale is overwhelmingly higher and that there is more trust in the field.
“The reason for the attack was because an American flag flew over the consulate,” Geist said.
To standing ovations, he concluded, “My goal now is speaking and making sure we save our Christian conservative values.”
Arapahoe County officials: Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane, Coroner Kelly Lear-Kaul, M.D., Assessor Marc Scott and Treasurer Sue Sandstom
State Rep. Cole Wist and District Attorney George Brauchler, a candidate for governor.
Diane Robinson and husband Doug Robinson, who is running for governor.
Gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell and wife Amy.
Dr. Jerry Miklin and his wife, Greenwood Village City Councilmember Freda Miklin, Mayor Ron Rakowsky and wife Margaret, and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe.
Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon, Michael Sutherland, a candidate for Centennial City Council, and Stephanie Piko, a candidate for mayor.
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