When the president comes to town

Being a reporter has afforded me lots of interesting opportunities over the past few years, but none so cool as sitting in a community center gymnasium in my hometown while the president of the United States spoke.

President Obama visited Charleston for a few hours earlier this week to address the state’s opioid epidemic.

I found out about the visit last Wednesday and was sworn to secrecy for 9 whole hours before we published the story. (Longest hours of my life. BTW, your friends won’t like it if you tell them you have a secret but you can’t tell them what it is).

I looked forward to sharing the news all day, and when I finally posted the story, I was disappointed in the comments that people were making. I’m not sure why I was expecting anything different, but some of the comments were just hateful.

President Obama and his politics are divisive topics in West Virginia, but if anything should unite us, it’s the problem of drug abuse, which has killed thousands of West Virginians over the past few years. And regardless of your political leanings, the man was elected to the highest office in the country. He deserves respect.

The day of the event, I and scores of other journalists got to the event a couple hours early to go through security. Part of my job that day was to live tweet the president’s speech. I nearly had a heart attack when my cellphone battery died. Luckily a couple reporters let me borrow their chargers (it happened twice).

(Note to self: bring one with you next time.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading about the event, check out our coverage herehere and here.

Here are a few grainy (sorry) pictures from the event.

President Barack Obama speaks to a crowd in Charleston earlier this week.

“Country Roads” played over the speaker as Obama left the building.

This guy was holding a sign welcoming the president to West Virginia. Others weren’t as friendly.

Obama greets guests at the East End Family Resource Center Wednesday.

The little gym at the East End Family Resource Center looks a lot grander all dressed up for the president.

This was the line for the media to go through security and receive or press badges.

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