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Story #44: Jean Durgin – "I was in the front row and shook his hand and introduced myself."

An amazing thing happened here in the Granite State during the Bidens visit here over the weekend. We connected with an incredibly inspiring supporter in a particularly unexpected way. We wanted to be sure to include it in our series of the 50 Stories you absolutely have to hear before you cast your vote.

Friday evening, the Bidens greeted the supporters who'd come out to see them on the steps of New Hampshire State House in Concord. They'd just finished speaking, and Jean, a supporter from Henniker was there.

"I was in the front row and shook his hand and introduced myself."

Pointing to a button she was wearing that featured a photo of a smiling young man, she mentioned she is a Gold Star Mother—her son Russell was killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2006.

As she continued to speak with the Vice President, she mentioned she earned her nursing degree at Northern Virginia Community College—the school where Dr. Biden currently teaches English. The community college system and what it represents in terms of equal access to education for all Americans is so personally important to Jean, as well as Dr. Biden.

Vice President Biden seemed to have an immediate connection with Jean. While Dr. Biden had already gone inside the State House, the Vice President thought his wife just had to meet Jean and invited her inside to talk with them.

We caught up with Jean after her conversation with the Vice President and Dr. Biden to hear more about her story. As a Gold Star Mother whose son Sean—Russell's twin brother—still serves in the Air National Guard, Jean noted:

“There's nothing more important to me than bringing our troops home. I know that President Obama and Vice President Biden are doing the right thing."

Caring for our troops, veterans, and military families is a subject the Bidens care about passionately. Vice President Biden often refers to this as "our only truly sacred obligation."

"We owe a particular debt to Gold Star Families," he said in Concord, the families—like Jean's—"of those 6,537 fallen angels." He continued:

"These are heroes. We must never ever forget their sacrifice and always, always keep them in our care and in our prayers."

Jean mentioned the relief she felt when President Obama finally ended the Iraq war, and she trusts he and Vice President Biden to bring the rest of our troops home by responsibly ending the war in Afghanistan.

The Vice President mentioned health care in particular as something we owe our returning service men and women, many of whom will need expensive medical care due to injuries sustained while defending our country. Jean agrees, and believes that health care is something all people deserve. She added:

“I'm a nurse, so I'm well aware of insurance and health care costs and all the problems that go along with it. I believe Mr. Obama really understands that we all have to have health care."

Jean told us that after she'd shared her story with the Bidens, the Vice President asked for her son Sean's phone number. Much to Jean's surprise, Vice President Biden immediately called Sean and thanked him for his service to our country. Jean said of the experience:

“I was thrilled...They are so friendly, warm, and genuine. It was just very special."

We are just 44 days away from Election Day. If you agree with Jean, we need you to commit to vote. Help re-elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden and help keep this country moving forward.


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