Bombing victims, gay athlete will be guests at State of the Union

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 27, 2014 


First Lady Michelle Obama, January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.


The White House's guests for the State of the Union address Tuesday includes survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, an Oklahoma fire chief who responded to a deadly tornado, the nation's first openly gay professional basketball player, a 16-year-old inventor and Washington, D.C.'s public school teacher of the year.

They will join First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, in the first lady's box.

Tens of millions are expected to watch the 9 p.m. EST address, which Obama will deliver from the U.S. Capitol; House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, a rising star in her party, will deliver the GOP response.

The White House announced some guests Monday, and more will be released before Tuesday night's speech:

--Carlos Arredondo, 53, wearing a white Cowboy hat, rushed a badly injured Jeff Bauman away from the Boston bombing to safety. Bauman, 27, who lost both his legs, played a vital role in identifying the bombers from his hospital bed.

--Gary Bird, the fire chief in Moore, Ok. was one of many first responders who helped the community after a tornado killed 25 and left more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

--Jason Collins, who attended Stanford, was selected as an All American, named the NCAA’s “Big Man of the Year,” and earned an appearance in the Final Four. After graduating in 2001, he was drafted into the NBA and has played for six teams. In April 2013, Collins became the first male player in major American team sports to come out openly as gay.

--Joey Hudy shot to fame in 2012 when at age 14 he attended the White House Science Fair where the president took a turn using the contraption he had made -- the “extreme marshmallow cannon." Hudy then handed the President a card with his credo: “Don’t be bored, make something.” Now 16, he recently started as Intel’s youngest intern.

--Kathy Hollowell-Makle was named 2013’s D.C.'s public school’s teacher of the year after more than 15 years teaching in the the city. She began as a Teach for America corps member in the District in 1998 and currently teaches at Abram Simon Elementary in Southeast Washington.

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