GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Terry O'Marr and his wife Cyndi own Cyndi's Sno-Delites at the Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport. A couple months ago the couple had an experience few will ever get: They meet and talked with President Obama during his June visit to South Mississippi.
They served the president a lemon-lime snowball and discussed some of the issues they faced as business owners in the wake of the oil spill. Terry O'Marr recognizes the power of a personal endorsement from the president.
"Anything to get the message out to let people know that the Gulf Coast is open," said O'Marr.
At the same time, he said that persuasion only goes so far when people still harbor concerns about the region.
"Things picked up just a little bit after the president came down, but then I think people still fear that we have oil on our beaches," said O'Marr.
In a trip with his family to Panama City, Florida, this weekend, President Obama once again tried to quell some of the fears associated with the Gulf waters.
"As a result of the clean-up, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, safe, and open for business. That's one of the reasons Michelle, Sasha, and I are here," President Obama said.
Mr. Obama also made good on a promise made earlier in the day by taking a dip in Gulf waters. A photo released by the White House showed him and daughter Sasha swimming at Panama Beach.
While there is support for the president spending time with family in the region, some said the 27-hour visit should have been extended.
"I support him. He's the President of the United States. But he could have taken a couple of days and visited all four of the most affected areas," said Dorothy Crawford of Gulfport.
As for Terri O'Marr, he's still holding out hope that the president will stop by South Mississippi for a visit. Better yet, he's hoping he'll swing by Cyndi' Sno-Delites to order up another lemon-lime snowball.
President Obama also took the family for a game of mini golf, where Sasha made a hole in one. The first family's oldest daughter, Malia, didn't make the Gulf trip because she was away at summer camp.