When Vice President Al Gore came to an RA in the 1990s, Richard Lee, the longtime chief of sergeants for the RA, spotted a stray backpack in the assembly hall.
He urged two Secret Service agents to check it out. "They looked at each other and said, ‘I'm not going near that,'" Lee recalled.
So Lee removed the backpack, which turned out to belong to a delegate.
Lee and the 30 sergeants he works with take care of details others don't notice to keep RAs orderly. He has been chief of sergeants for at least 25 years. He thought he would stop in 2005 when he retired from 40 years of teaching on Long Island.
Now, nine years later, this RA is his last.
Lee will miss the work, he said, particularly the close camaraderie among the sergeants. "They're the nicest people in the world."