By Angie Stewart
Imagine her surprise when Maria Gómez received an invitation to the White House! The Washington Post reports that Gómez gladly accepted an invitation from First Lady Michelle Obama to attend the administration’s second state dinner. Although, this wasn’t the first time the two met. During the first month of the Obama administration, the First Lady visited Gomez’s Community Health Center, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, where she read to children and answered questions. Twenty-two years ago, Gomez founded the health center to aid women and children. It has since expanded to include men as well, and is continuing to do great work for medically underserved families and individuals in the D.C. area.
Way to go, Maria!
Maria offers a personal, first-hand account of her experience:
President Felipe Calderón and his wife Margarita Zavala were honored at the White House this past Wednesday, May 19th, with a State dinner that could be described as elegant, warm, and personable.
I was very fortunate and proud to receive an invitation and experience this momentous occasion with my husband. The security was tight but not imposing as we passed through the South East Gate and into the West Wing. We proceeded to walk down a corridor flanked by about 30 news photographers. All of this attention caught us by surprise, but we managed.
Once inside the White House, the atmosphere was a little more relaxed as guests mingled and exchanged greetings. We had the privilege of spending some personal time with California Congressman Xavier Becerra and his wife Carolina Reyes, Senator Menendez from New Jersey, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton, and others throughout the night. Equally wonderful was the time that we spent with Scott Schenkelberg from Miriam’s Kitchen, Lindsey Buss from Martha’s Table, and their magnificent wives as we shared our once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to serve in our communities during these special days in Washington.
A few of the people at our table included New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and one of his offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson, as well as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Both presidents and gave warm, salutary speeches and toasts that emphasized the bond between the two countries. First Lady Michelle Obama expressed her appreciation to the White House kitchen staff and the Marine Corp band for their support and hard work that helped to make the event memorable. The First Lady’s genuine and heartfelt words deeply touched my heart.
The evening ended beautifully as I shared the warmest moment all by myself with Mrs. Robinson, the First Lady’s mother. It doesn’t get any better than that!
The event was memorable and historic, and I felt honored and humbled to represent our Mary’s Center community and the important work that has been delivered to our community for the last 22 years.