Hastings man meets First LadyFor 45 minutes on Friday, Hastings resident Shane Hudella sat across the table from the First Lady, Michelle Obama. He had a chance to tell her more about his organization, Defending the Blue Line, which provides hockey equipment to the children of service members.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
For 45 minutes on Friday, Hastings resident Shane Hudella sat across the table from the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
He had a chance to tell her more about his organization, Defending the Blue Line, which provides hockey equipment to the children of service members.
“It was pretty awesome,” Hudella said. “Kinda surreal, in a way, for sure. It went really well.”
Hudella’s son, 10-year-old Joey, and the daughter of a deployed soldier, Megan Soukup, escorted Obama off an airplane at the airport. Joey Hudella was wearing a Defending the Blue Line shirt, and photos of them were circulated across the globe by various media outlets.
DTBL was up for an award from the White House, the Joining Forces Challenge, and that’s how Obama learned of the group.
In a private conference room nearby, Hudella and other organizations had a roundtable with Obama.
“She had great words for our organization,” Hudella said. “We got invited out to a function at the White House on April 11 related to the Joining Forces Challenge. It was a great visit.”
Hudella got a call last week from the White House. A staff member asked Hudella to prepare opening remarks for the roundtable, and he agreed to do so. Great, they told him. Then they asked for a draft of his speech to be sent over within the hour.
He sat down and busily typed away, then sent it to the White House, which gave it their stamp of approval.
All this attention from the White House has definitely helped DTBL grow, as have several other efforts under way. In the past six to nine months, the group’s requests for equipment have skyrocketed. That has prompted Hudella to resign from the National Guard to pursue DTBL full-time.
“Regardless of what people’s political backgrounds are, it’s a pretty big thing for a little group from Hastings to be honored by the White House,” Hudella said. “We’re excited.”