New Hampshire operator Sheri Barnes helped out with the motorcade of former President George H.W. Bush during his visit this month to Dartmouth College.
DARTMOUTH, N.H. — For smaller operators, earning the privilege to help drive a major V.I.P. marks a seal of approval milestone in chauffeured service.
Tom and Sheri Barnes of Avante Limousine & Transportation got a big gig Sunday, June 12 with a special guest at the 2011 Commencement at Dartmouth College: President George H.W. Bush (served 1989-1993) and Former First Lady Barbara Bush. President Bush was there to receive an honorary degree. Comedian Conan O’Brien was the commencement speaker.
The run was the first time Avante was involved in a former President’s motorcade. The former President was traveling with an Avante client — a trustee of Dartmouth College — on the client’s private jet, said Sheri Barnes, owner of Avante. “We worked with the senior advisor to Former President Bush to make necessary arrangements and with the Secret Service the week prior to commencement to clear our chauffeur,” Barnes said.
Avante Limousine's Lincoln Navigator SUV (third from front of motorcade) was used to transport a friend of President Bush whose private jet President and Mrs. Bush flew on to and from southern New Hampshire. Chauffeur Tom Barnes, co-owner of Avante, is standing next to the SUV.
The chauffeur turned out to be Sheri’s husband, Tom Barnes, who is also operations manager at Avante. He drove one of Avante’s Lincoln Navigator SUVs. “We had to provide Secret Service with all personal information so he could be cleared prior to the trip,” Sheri Barnes told LCT. “The vehicle was “swept” upon arrival and then we became part of the motorcade and had to remain with them until all passengers were boarded and the plane took off.”
The motorcade was ordered as follows: a New Hampshire State Police cruiser, an SUV with Secret Service agents, an SUV with Former President & Mrs. Bush, their personal aides and Secret Service agents, the Avante SUV with the Dartmouth trustee and his wife, a sedan with more Secret Service agents, and three local police cruisers.
“It was an exciting day for our company in our rural environment,” Barnes said.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
Former President George H.W. Bush makes his way from an SUV to a private jet on Sunday, June 12 following a commencement event at Dartmouth College.