Sheetz Greets Veep

A crowd at a Sheetz store in Altoona, Pa., on Saturday crossed paths with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin when she made a stop at the c-store en route to Philadelphia, The Altoona Mirror reported.

The GOP vice presidential candidate stopped at the store after a Saturday morning rally in Johnstown, Pa., the newspaper said.

Palin circled the store with her child, Trig, in a carrier strapped to her chest, followed by daughters Willow and Piper, who plucked drinks from the coolers as Palin greeted customers in the store, according to the newspaper.

She posed for pictures and shook hands as residents dodged Secret Service members and snapped photos with cell phones.

"We’ve got signs in our backyard," customer Mary Lou Lawruk said of the family’s support. "She’s very direct. She tells us what’s going on." Lawruk said Palin "absolutely fits Pennsylvania."

A Sheetz employee standing nearby piped up with gratitude for the visit after employees hurried across the store announcing Palin’s arrival to others as the bus pulled in.

State Rep. Jerry Sterns wife, Susan, shook Palin’s hand at the Sheetz stop. The Sterns missed Palin’s speech in Johnstown, but Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, said excitement was high in line, too.

"She’s energized a lot of people," Stern told The Altoona Mirror. "It was just nice to be able to talk to people outside."

Stern said the Sheetz stop is "exciting for Blair County."

Mike Jennings, Blair County’s chairman for John McCain’s campaign, suggested Sheetz as the day’s lunch stop.

"People keep thinking this is a depressed area," he said. "We have some good employers. Look at Sheetz. It’s something to be proud of."

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