Last week Tutor.com tutor and military spouse, Laurel B., had the opportunity to attend a White House celebration honoring the work of Joining Forces and the Military Spouse Employment Paternership (MSEP). Joining Forces, founded by First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden, asks companies to pledge their commitment to hiring military spouses and veterans. Tutor.com is part of this program and works with MSEP to spread the word about the flexible tutoring positions and their commitment to hiring spouses. Here’s Laurel’s account of the event!
Many months ago, I was nominated by Tutor.com to attend a White House event celebrating the Joining Forces program, which helps military spouses, like me, and military veterans, find employment. Since I didn’t hear back some time, I almost forgot about it until I got a call from the Department of Defense–inviting me to the White House on the following Tuesday! Once I remembered the nomination I was incredibly excited, and responded immediately that I would attend. A formal invitation followed, inviting both me and my husband, Petty Officer First Class Joshua Byrnes, an active duty Yeoman in the Navy.
On our way into the White House that Tuesday, there were several security check-points to go through. My husband and I speculated whether the President might be there–but we doubted that since we heard on the radio that the President was giving a press conference.
We entered through the East Wing of the White House, into a large main room with a military band playing jazz music. We were soon ushered into a beautiful press conference room after mingling with other attendees. Once we were all seated, more military spouses, veterans and Joining Forces affiliated employees came out and filled most of the seats on the stage. Yet a few of the seats remained empty and we all sat in anticipation of who would show up next…
Finally, in came Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill. The Vice President introduced his wife, and explained how passionate she was about the program, and how proud he was of her for helping to found it. Jill then took the podium and talked about her dedication to the program and to helping people like us find work since military members and their families sacrifice so much for our country. After this, we were all surprised to see President Obama and his wife, Michelle, come in through the door.
The President spoke about how dedicated his wife was to the mission, how proud he was of her, and how hard she has worked on Joining Forces with Jill in their spare time. He introduced Michelle, who then took the podium. She spoke about how vital the program was, and shared stories about specific veterans and spouses who have benefited from it. She also talked about how everyone can help military members and their families—whether by hiring them or simply shoveling the sidewalk for them after a snowstorm.
Once the speeches wrapped up and people began to walk out, my husband and I took our time leaving. Taking a few more pictures and feeling lucky to have been able to be part of such a once-in-a-lifetime event!