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 Home > News & Policies > January 2004

State of the Union 2004State of the Union 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
January 20, 2004

Guest List for the First Lady's Box at the State of the Union

1) Mrs. Laura Bush

2) David Hobbs, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

3) Marine Corps Sergeant Dawn Michelle Campbell
Madison, Wisconsin
Sergeant Campbell is stationed at Henderson Hall, Headquarters Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps. She has served for eight years, most recently as the Convoy Commander in Iraq with the 2nd Transportation Support Battalion (Camp Viper, Iraq). She returned to the U.S. on June 9, 2003.

4) Julio Medina
Executive Director, Exodus Transitional Community
New York, New York
Julio Medina was arrested as a teenager for selling drugs, leading to a 12-year prison sentence. During these years, Mr. Medina obtained his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and Masters of Professional Studies from the New York Theological Seminary. In September 1996, he was released from prison and began work as a counselor with substance addicted and HIV/AIDS affected individuals. In 1999, Mr. Medina obtained funding to form the Exodus Transitional Community (ETC), a safe haven where ex-offenders seek help and support.

ETC seeks to address the needs of men and women reintegrating into society from prison. ETC has already assisted over 1,200 released men and women in transition.

5) Sister Carol Keehan
President and CEO, Providence Hospital
Washington, D.C.
Since 1989, Sister Carol Keehan has served as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. She is also the chair-elect of the Catholic Health Association. Sister Carol earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s College and her master’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina.

Providence Hospital, chartered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861, is the oldest continuously operating hospital in Washington, D.C.

The Catholic Health Association (CHA) is comprised of more than 2,000 Catholic health care sponsors, systems, facilities, and related organizations. Founded in 1915, CHA advocates for a just health care system.

6) Mrs. Bush’s Special Guest

7) Rend Al-Rahim
Iraqi Senior Diplomatic Representative; and Executive Director, The Iraq Foundation
Washington, D.C.
Rend Al-Rahim, a native of Iraq, has been selected by the Iraqi Governing Council to be Iraq’s representative in Washington, D.C. Ms. Al-Rahim is a founder of the Iraq Foundation and has been its Executive Director since 1991. The Iraq Foundation is a non-profit organization working for democracy and human rights in Iraq, and for a better international understanding of Iraq’s potential as a contributor to political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

Ms. Al-Rahim has worked with the Iraqi communities in the U.S., the Middle East, and northern Iraq. She holds degrees from Cambridge University and the Sorbonne.

8) Eileen “Ellie” Halter
CEO, Schnipke Engraving Company
Ottoville, Ohio
Ellie Halter is the CEO of Schnipke Engraving Company, Inc., a family-owned manufacturer and assembler of complex, precision-molded components for the medical industry. Mrs. Halter’s parents started the business in 1962 in their one-car garage. Today, Schnipke Engraving has annual revenues of $23 million and employs 220 people. Schnipke just expanded their operation to Tucson, Arizona, where they have plans to hire an additional 25 employees this year. They also will hire an additional 25 people in their Ohio office this year. In 2003, Schnipke spent $2.6 million in qualified capital investments.

2003 Tax Savings: Schnipke saved approximately $340,000 from the 50 percent bonus depreciation.

9) Reverend Helen S. Fleming
Chairperson and Acting Director, Lena Maloney Community Development Corporation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reverend Helen Fleming has served as Senior Pastor of Eastwick United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for eight years and as Pastor of Sharon Hill Christian Center United Methodist Church in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, for 18 months. Reverend Fleming founded the Lena Maloney Community Development Corporation (LMCDC) in 1998.

LMCDC recently purchased a multi-purpose center using city, state, private, and church funds to be used serving the neighborhood’s spiritual, physical, economic, and social needs. Programs include support for children of the incarcerated, a computer lab for the elderly and unemployed, and financial and legal counseling.

10) Army Chief Warrant Officer Stephen “Steve” Douglas Combs, Jr.
Fall River, Massachusetts
Chief Warrant Officer Combs is stationed in the 160th Aviation Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He has served in the army since 1984. He has received the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with Valor, three Army Commendation Medals, and five Army Achievement Medals. He has been serving in Iraq, where he helped in the raids that captured Saddam Hussein. A Steve Combs (great grandfather, grandfather, or father) has fought in every major conflict since WWI; his father is retired U.S. Army.

11) Jim Diesing
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jim Diesing and David Moreno met in 1998 through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, and Mr. Diesing has remained David’s Big Brother since then. Mr. Diesing, a Best Buy employee, received the 2003 Angel of Mentoring Award. He chairs Best Buy’s Big Brothers Big Sisters committee as part of their employee volunteer program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, founded in 1904, is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, serving more than 200,000 children across the country.

12) David Moreno
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Savage, Minnesota
Note: Today is David’s 13th birthday.
Jim Diesing and David Moreno met in 1998, when David was seven years old, through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, and Mr. Diesing has remained David’s Big Brother since then.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, founded in 1904, is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, serving more than 200,000 children across the country.

13) Mayor Anthony Williams
Washington, D.C.
Mayor Williams was inaugurated for a second term as mayor of Washington, D.C. on January 2, 2003. He was first elected mayor of Washington, D.C. on November 3, 1998 after having served as CFO of Washington, D.C., from October 1995 through June 1998.

14) Tamika Catchings
Member, USA Basketball 2004 Women’s Senior National Team
Indianapolis, Indiana
Tamika Catchings plays on the WNBA Indiana Fever and the USA Basketball 2004 Women’s Senior National teams. Ms. Catchings, an All-American at the University of Tennessee, has claimed three gold medals and one silver on four prior USA Basketball squads. For the Fever, she was the runner-up for the 2003 WNBA MVP award and received the 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year.

Ms. Catchings is heavily involved in her community. She was twice honored by the WNBA for her work, receiving the August 2002 and August 2003 WNBA Community Assist award. In addition to hosting camps and clinics and raising money to enable disadvantaged youths to attend basketball camps, this season Ms. Catchings purchased a block of tickets for local children to attend a Fever game and sit in “Catchings Corner.”

15) Mrs. Bush’s Special Guest

16) Mrs. Bush’s Special Guest

17) Elsie Blanton
Apopka, Florida
Elsie Blanton is on Medicare with a supplemental policy that does not include prescription drug coverage. Ms. Blanton spends approximately $900 per month on prescription drugs when unable to obtain free samples from her doctors or the pharmaceutical companies. Ms. Blanton’s prescription drug costs account for three quarters of her monthly income ($1,190 in social security benefits).

How the Medicare bill will help Ms. Blanton: Ms. Blanton’s income is just above 150 percent of the Federal poverty level for 2003. It is possible, however, that in 2006 she would qualify for the low-income benefit. Even if she were to qualify only for the standard coverage, she would save approximately $7,000 off her annual prescription drug expenses, or about $6,600 net of premiums. If Ms. Blanton were to qualify for the low-income benefit, her insurance would cover 85 percent of her spending above a $50 annual deductible. This would reduce her annual prescription drug spending by more than $9,400, or around $9,000 net of premiums.

18) Air Force Staff Sergeant Clinton “Clint” Ward Smith, Jr.
Forestville, Maryland
Staff Sergeant Smith is stationed at the 11th Security Forces Squadron. He has served for six years in Security Forces. He returned from Baghdad (the 447th Air Expeditionary Group) in October 2003.

19) Navy Machinist Mate First Class Stephen “Steve” Matthew Kuczirka
Cincinnati, Ohio
Machinist Mate First Class Kuczirka is stationed on the USS Memphis in Groton, Connecticut. He joined the Navy in May 1992, and has 12 years of Submarine Service. He has been awarded the Sailor of the Year for the USS Memphis. He returned from the Arabian Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom, on January 16, 2004.

20) National Guard Specialist Matthew Moss
Oxnard, California
Specialist Moss is a combat medic with the 3rd Battalion of the 124th Infantry, out of the Florida Army National Guard. He has served as a medical specialist for four years. He returned from Baghdad in November 2003 due to injuries sustained in action.

21) Michelle Rhee
President and CEO, New Teacher Project
New York, New York (Note: Mrs. Rhee lives in Sylvania, Ohio)
Michelle Rhee serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of The New Teacher Project. A non-profit organization, the New Teacher Project partners with school districts, state departments of education, and other educational entities to enhance their capacity to recruit, select, train, and support outstanding new teachers for difficult-to-staff schools. Since its inception in 1997, The New Teacher Project has launched 39 programs in 18 states and attracted and prepared over 10,000 new, high-quality teachers.

Mrs. Rhee holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

22) Coast Guard Gunnersmate First Class Daniel “Tree or Guns” Christopher Roundtree
Bronx, New York
Gunnersmate First Class Roundtree is stationed in the Coast Guard Group, Miami Armory. He has served for ten years. He returned from Bahrain in August 2003. His wife, Michelle, is also in the Coast Guard.

23) Mrs. Alma Powell

24) Thomas “Tom” Brady
Quarterback, New England Patriots
Boston, Massachusetts
Tom Brady is the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Mr. Brady earned three letters (1997-99) and recorded a 20-5 record at Michigan before he was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000. In 2002, at age 24, he became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, the third-youngest player to win a Super Bowl MVP, and the second quarterback to win the Super Bowl in the year of his first career start. Mr. Brady will return to the Super Bowl this year.

Mr. Brady and his Patriots teammates have made an impact in their community by hosting a sports camp for local youth.

25) Mrs. Joyce Rumsfeld

26) Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, Guest of Mrs. Bush
Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church
Houston, Texas
Reverend Caldwell is Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, the largest United Methodist Church in the Nation. Reverend Caldwell is also the founder of the Pyramid Community Development Corporation (CDC). Pyramid CDC’s mission is to revitalize, conserve, and redevelop southwest Houston neighborhoods and surrounding communities. The CDC owns and operates the Power Center, a multi-complex facility that serves more than 11,000 families a month.

27) Mrs. Suzette Caldwell, Guest of Mrs. Bush
Houston, Texas

28) Staff Sergeant Joey Marshal Wommack
Garland, Texas
Staff Sergeant Wommack is a Cavalry Scout Platoon Sergeant (G Troop, 10th Cavalry, 4th ID). He returned to the U.S. from Iraq on January 4, and is scheduled to return to Iraq later this month. He has served since 1993, serving tours in Republic of Korea, Ft. Bragg (Special Warfare School), and then back to Ft. Hood for the last four years. He has received two Bronze Stars (one for Valor from Operation Iraqi Freedom), seven Army Commendation Medals, and seven Army Achievement Medals. His unit pulled rear security during operation that captured Saddam Hussein. His father is retired U.S. Army.

29) Mrs. Karen Hughes, Guest of Mrs. Bush