The American people will hear from President Donald Trump on Tuesday as he delivers his State of the Union address, the second in his presidency. The president and first lady have invited special guests to the event, each guest with their own unique story.
“This year’s guests come from all different walks of life, and each has an incredible story to tell,” the White House announced. “No matter their background, each one has something important in common: They represent the very best of America.”
Let’s take a look at some of the special guests who will be attending.
Illegal immigration takes a toll on generations
From generation to generation, each of these women is part of the same family of a couple, Gerald and Sharon David, who were killed in January 2019 by an illegal immigrant.
A hope-filled story of redemption
In 1996, Matthew Charles was sentenced to 35 years behind bars for selling drugs and other related offenses, however, he came to know God while in prison, which changed his life. Charles was the first prisoner released due to the First Step Act. He completed bible studies, became a law clerk, taught GED classes, and mentored other inmates.
A smile in the midst of a hard situation
Grace Eline was diagnosed with Germinoma at the age of 9 and began cancer treatment in May 2018. Always bringing a smile to others in the hospital, Eline kept positive as she fought, and now that she is finished with chemotherapy with no more evidence of cancer, she brings hope to those who are still fighting.
From struggle to recovery, and showing hope
Having struggled with opioid and substance abuse much of her life, Ashley Evans found herself struggling again when she was pregnant. However, her daughter’s birth is what started her recovery and Evans is about to celebrate a year and one month of recovery and will be reunited with her daughter soon.
Countless years of service fighting human trafficking
With more than 18 years of experience in federal law enforcement, Elvin Hernandez now works for the Department of Homeland Security’s Trafficking in Persons Unit division. His current 7-year assignment has been successful with international human trafficking investigations.
Closed doors are reopened
After working at the sawmill for 26 years, even becoming the Vice President of Operations, Roy James found the Vicksburg Forest Products lumber facility closing down. However, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the business was able to reopen — James now oversees the entire facility.
Putting others first in the line of duty
After working as a police officer for years, Timothy Matson moved on to work with the SWAT team where he was tasked with responding to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October 2018. During the shooting, he was shot multiple times and saved many — 11 people were killed that day.
Survivor of the Holocaust and Tree of Life shooting
Judah Samet was a survivor of the Holocaust, who immigrated to Israel afterward. He was present during the declaration of the Israeli State in 1948 and served in the Israeli Defense Forces. After moving to the U.S. in the 1960s, Samet became a member of the Tree of Life, and he later survived the shooting at the synagogue when a gunman shot and killed 11 people in an anti-semitic attack.
Bullied over his last name, but looks to hope in a family service member
The young boy, Joshua Trump, is a 6th grader who is bullied over his last name. However, despite the cruel behavior by fellow students, Joshua looks to his uncle who serves in the Air Force as his hero and hopes to one day work with animals.
The father of a fallen service member
Tom Wibberley’s son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley of the U.S.S. Cole, loved computer science and wanted to serve his country. Craig served abroad and was accepted to Navy Information Technician School, then recommended for Officer Candidate School. However, in October 2000, Craig was killed in a terrorist attack at the age of 19, along with his 16 fellow service members. Since then, a $1,000 scholarship goes out each year to those studying computer science.
A sense of hope after a life sentence
I’m so thankful to celebrate 2019 as a FREE woman!!! Love and blessings to all !❤️
Happy New Year!!! pic.twitter.com/P7CVG7tO89
— Alice Marie Johnson (@AliceMarieFree) January 1, 2019
After being sentenced to prison for life without parole in 1996, Alice Johnson accomplished “extraordinary rehabilitation” and was granted clemency by President Trump. She now serves her life to help those who are in similar situations and to push for criminal justice reform.