Participating in the NH Primary was not something Sean Michael O'Dwyer planned on doing. American-born, reared in Ireland, O'Dwyer heard Rick Santorum's (moral) victory speech in Iowa and was moved.
"When he was talking about looking at his grandfather's large hands," O'Dwyer recalled Santorum's story of going to his grandfather's wake, "he could have been talking about my father...He didn't work in the mines, but my father worked the land and he had these large hands."
The next morning, O'Dwyer set off from South Waverly, PA (which, surprisingly, is north of North Waverly). He put on his overalls, three overcoats, and a floppy hat and set off hitchhiking. He made it as far as a small bus station (think: Steinbeck's Wayward Bus), then got to Boston. He slept in South Station before arriving in New Hampshire nearly two days later.
Since arriving in New Hampshire, O'Dwyer has been a shinning star in the Santorum campaign. Volunteers have given him room and board. He's rewarded the campaign by being a tireless worker. O'Dwyer was not a Keystone State resident when Santorum was in office - so he's yet to officially vote for him. He praises the former Senator for his experience on the Armed Services Committee, but it's clear his passion for Santorum is personal.
"As soon as he said that about his grandfather, I thought that was grand," he says in the lilt of someone raised in Belfast. "My father was the smallest kid in his class, but he had the largest hands. They learned that when they measured him for class rings. He had the biggest hands."