Frank Maldonado has never really won anything—but that all changed last week. After making a donation to Obama 2012, Frank won the chance for him and his wife Sue to meet presidents Clinton and Obama at a special fundraising event in New York City.
“I was absolutely blown away—getting to meet two of the presidents I’ve had such high regard for. When I first found out, I was still on the phone with the campaign and I Skyped my wife to tell her we won! She was asking me for all the details and I said, ‘I can’t—I’m still talking to them right now!’ I was in shock right up until two seconds before I met both the presidents, and the whole rest of the time afterwards.”
Frank and Sue, both Chicago-area natives, own their own small business doing computer programming.
“I was doing aviation with the military, and when I got out I went into the auto industry full-time. I figured I wasn’t going to be able to do that forever, so I decided to get training in computer repair and construction. I honed my skills, and my wife became a website producer.”
Frank says that when they arrived at the reception in New York, they were like “kids in an amusement park.”
“We walked past this humongous line to get in, and waited at a table with the other winners. When we walked up to the room where the presidents were waiting, the door was cracked ever-so-slightly. President Obama and former President Clinton came right up to us. We all felt nervous and they knew it, but they were very calming.
“I told President Obama hello from all his supporters in Chicago, and told him how proud we were of his service. The President responded with a huge smile—he said he’d just been there. I’m sure he misses his Chicago routine. And my wife talked to Bill Clinton about Park Ridge, the suburb where both she and Hillary Clinton grew up. He said he enjoyed running through the neighborhood and was asking her how many streets from the Clintons she lived.
“Then we got in a car and headed for the New Amsterdam theater for Barack on Broadway. I could practically touch the stage! The show was fantastic—the performers, the speakers. It was like a who’s who from Broadway. Neil Patrick Harris talked about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and thanked President Obama for respecting the rights of LGBT people. And it was pandemonium once President Obama came on the stage. He was trying to get us all to sit down but nobody would sit! The two presidents rocked New York’s world.
“When my wife and I got back to the hotel, we stayed up and talked for hours. It wasn’t just actually meeting the President that was special—the whole process of meeting the other winners, feeling like you mattered, seeing how excited people were, will really stick with me. Anybody that believes democracy is broken needs to experience it. The attendees, the volunteers, the New Yorkers, the performers—everyone involved in that night has a stake in this election.”
If you have a stake in this election, chip in to help re-elect President Obama today.