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A Vote and a Hug

Erin Gianopoulos is a wife of a veteran and a military veteran herself. She introduced First Lady Michelle Obama in Fredericksburg at a September grassroots event.

Soon after her husband was transferred to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Erin Gianopoulos asked a friend who is active in Organizing for America what she could do to help in the Virginia campaign to re-elect President Obama.

“I’m a military spouse and also a military veteran,” she said. “I was on active duty for eight years (including a tour in Iraq) and am still serving in the reserves.

“I support the President in large part because of the things he and his administration have done for military families. They’re improving our access to health care, helping us find jobs and giving us better access to educational opportunities.”

But she adds, “I am a huge fan of Michelle Obama.” So when she was asked to introduce the First Lady at a recent rally in Northern Virginia, she leapt at the chance.

“I feel she is universally admired and, as a new mother myself, I think it is great to have a role model like her in the White House."

Why is the First Lady so widely admired?

“I think it’s due to the causes she supports,” Erin said, “healthy eating, getting our kids active, supporting military families. And she just seems to have a wonderful personality and to be really approachable. I think a lot of American mothers can see that; I think a lot of us can see a little bit of ourselves in her.

“You know her garden at the White House, I just think that’s so neat. She is an amazingly accomplished and educated woman, and yet as First Lady she is getting back to taking care of really simple things, rather than making it this glamorous position.”

And of her encounter with Michelle?

“The First Lady was fabulous; she was so gracious and charming. She gave everybody a hug; it was surprising, very sweet.”

While Barack Obama will have Erin’s vote in November, it’s also likely that Michelle Obama’s hug will be long remembered .

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