Leetsdale man surprised by opportunity to meet Obama
Leetsdale didn't get its chance last week to greet President Obama, but one of its residents did.
John Mier, 62, attended Obama's stop at the Community College of Allegheny County's North Fayette campus after being invited by the White House.
The encounter led to meeting and taking photos with the president and vice president.
In the fall, Mier wrote a letter to the president proclaiming his support for the Affordable Care Act. A portion of the letter was read in October during a speech by Obama.
Mier said he never imagined writing the letter and attending the event at CCAC would lead to meeting Obama.
“I just kind of thought we'd go there and see a speech and that would be OK,” Mier said.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden used CCAC's West Hills Center, a vocational training facility, as a backdrop on April 16 to announce $600 million in competitive grant programs for job training and apprenticeship initiatives.
“We want to replicate your model across the country. You're doing something right that's making a difference in people's lives, and we want to spread the word,” Obama told about 275 people during a 20-minute speech.
Mier said he and a small group of others were ushered into an area to watch Biden and Obama.
“We waited for hours for the thing to start,” he said.
As Obama's speech began, Mier said he thought a chance meeting with the president seemed likely.
“Ten minutes into his speech, that's when they pulled us out and that's when I realized I was meeting the president,” he said.
In a sectioned-off area backstage, Mier said he and others waited until Obama's speech ended to meet the two.
“I was really excited to meet them,” he said. “President Obama is very nice and is trying to put people at ease. He comes off very casual.
“It was pretty cool. I feel really fortunate.”
Mier introduced himself to Obama by saying “I'm your man in Leetsdale,” he said. Mier said Obama replied, “I know you are.”
Leetsdale initially was to have been the location for the president's visit, but the event later was switched to North Fayette.
In his letter, Mier proclaimed his support for the health care law. Mier, who is self-employed, said the law helped him and his wife receive affordable health care coverage, which is why he wrote to the president.
Mier said he still thinks the Affordable Care Act has helped him.
“The coverage we have is better than what we would have had,” he said, adding that he could have been paying $24,000 a year for coverage, but now will pay about $9,000.
But politics aside, Mier said meeting the president and vice president was a moment he will cherish.
“You really don't think of seeing these people but when you do it is striking,” he said.
Mike Wereschagin contributed to this report. Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or email@example.com.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stream alters theater blueprint in Sewickley
- Sewickley mom, dad thankful for ‘incredible’ support since son’s death
- Herald staffers share reasons for giving thanks
- Yuletide in Sewickley set to kick off with Small Business Saturday, Light Up Night
- Photos: Quaker Valley performs version of ‘Peter Pan’ show
- Quaker Valley official says test scores only fraction of story
- Quaker Valley hires middle school chief for $108,500
- Construction-loving Sewickley kid gets in with crew, pens book with mom