State of the Union: First lady's guests announced

Out basketball player Jason Collins and Boston Marathon bombing survivors Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arredondo will attend the State of the Union Tuesday night as guests of the first lady.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy  |  Jan. 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- People at the center of some of 2013's biggest stories will join first lady Michelle Obama for one of the biggest moments of the political year.

The White House announced Monday morning the first round of people who will attend Tuesday night's State of the Union as the first lady's guests.

Jeff Bauman, Carlos Arredondo, Gary Bird, Jason Collins, Joey Hudy and Kathy Hollowell-Makle were the first guests to be announced. They will sit alongside Dr. Jill Biden and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, as well as Obama.

Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arredondo came to national attention when a photographer snapped a harrowing image of them in the aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon last April. Bauman was badly injured in the blast, and Arredondo's quick thinking -- and quickly applied tourniquets -- helped saved Bauman's life. The two have become close friends and made a number of appearances together as Bauman heals.

Gary Bird is the Fire Chief in Moore, Okla., and was in charge of coordinating the search and rescue operation in the aftermath of the tornado that struck Moore on May 20. Bird began his career as a volunteer firefighter in 1981 and was hired by the Moore Fire Department in 1985. He rose to Deputy Fire Chief in 2003 and took over as Chief in 2012.

In April, Jason Collins became the first male American athlete on a major sports team to come out as openly gay, revealing his sexuality in an issue of Sports Illustrated. Collins spent 12 years in the NBA, including two trips to the Finals, with six teams.

Joey Hudy, of Anthem, Ariz., is what he calls a "Maker," a member of a community of people who enjoy building and designing things in their spare time. Joey was, at 14, the designer of the very same "extreme marshmallow cannon" that he brought to the White House Science Fair in 2012, even letting the president take a shot. Now at 16, Joey is the youngest intern at Intel.

District of Columbia Public Schools Teacher of the Year Kathy Hollowell-Makle is a 15-year-veteran of D.C.'s public schools. She began her career as a member of the Teach for America corps and teaches at Abram Simon Elementary in Southeast D.C.

The White House will announce more guests before the speech Tuesday night.

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