Ardmore native Kyle Lewter has been a political animal since middle school.
Lewter, 28, a 2006 graduate of Ardmore High School, started out helping local candidates — Tom Butler and Henry White — with their political campaigns and most recently helped campaign for President-elect Donald Trump.
On Friday, he and Ardmore's James Shannon will have great seats to Trump's inaugural outside the U.S. Capitol.
Kyle received a special invitation to the event, along with two tickets, and decided to take Shannon, a former Limestone County school board member, with him.
“Shannon and I have been friends for a long time,” Lewter said.
“I did his campaign for county commission.”
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, for whom Kyle has campaigned, helped make the invitation possible for Lewter, though Lewter's resume and accomplishments certainly must have made helping him worthwhile.
While many people Lewter's age have to pad their resumes, Lewter probably needs a resume just to remember where he's been.
While only a ninth-grader at Ardmore High School, he was already a member of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee, the group that runs the local party.
A year later, he would become a member of the Alabama Republican Committee. As a 10th-grader, along with a list of achievements and activities, Lewter campaigned for George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist and Richard Shelby, to name a few.
When he was a senior, he was named a Presidential Classroom Delegate, an event held in Washington, D.C. He was one of four honoraries chosen from the Presidential Classroom to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. “It was the most humbling thing I have ever done,” Lewter said.
Laying the wreath was a vast honor, in part, because his grandfather, T.J. Lewter who died in 2000, was a World War II soldier who had earned a Purple Heart.
During his time at the Presidential Classroom, Lewter was able to spend time, one on one, with both U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Sessions. He was surprised they had time to spend with him.
“They were eager to listen to stories about my grandfather and listen to his stories about his grandfather. A lot of things they did I thought would be handled by staffers. They are very approachable.”
He visited Washington again in 2014, and spent time with Shelby and Brooks. Some of what he learned surprised him, he said, noting Shelby still uses a typewriter and once sent him a typewritten note, which Lewter keeps in a vast scrapbook containing honors, accolades, political letters and invitations.
Politics isn't the only thing Lewter is good at. A graduate of the University of North Alabama in Florence, he received high honors there along with a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry. He worked for Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville but wanted to become a physician.
Lewter was accepted into the University of Alabama School of Medicine but, after two years, he had to take a leave from the program due to illness.
He has not remained idle. He has two semesters remaining before earning a master's degree in two concentrations — toxicology and public health care law and policy.
“I was working on it while I was in med school,” he said.
Lewter put in a request for tickets to the inaugural long before the November election. The tickets have to be requested through Brook's Office.
“I put in a request to be put in consideration to go to the inaugural,” he said.
Although he was invited to attend the Bush-Cheney second-term inaugural in 2005, something came up and he could not attend, he said.
That invitation is displayed in his scrapbook.
“This is when I really because interested in the political process,” Lewter said. “My grandfather was very involved in the community. He inspired me to work hard for my community whether it be in a public role or a private one. God calls us to a life of service, so I try to be up to that.”
While Lewter and Shannon are in Washington, they will also attend one of the many inaugural balls in D.C., the Alabama-South Carolina Ball.
“Pretty highfalutin for a kid from Ardmore,” Lewter said, laughing.