“Hey, how are you doing?” President Barack Obama excitedly asked as he walked into Lisa Martin’s Papillion, Nebraska home Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Obama shook hands with Martin, and her husband and others inside. Martin is an English teacher in Papillion. She said at first the call from The White House last week seemed like a joke.
“It didn't really feel real--until the Secret Service stopped by on Tuesday, and I had to kind of prepare for his arrival,” Martin said.
In January 2015, Martin was up late with her newly born son. She was reading the news when an article on environmental efforts in Alaska touched her. Martin immediately wrote The White House. In one paragraph, she said,
“I provide for my child every day through food, and shelter, but I am unable to guarantee he will have a real future on our planet. I am powerless to put any real change into action. I realized I am just a high school English teacher emailing the president at four in the morning.”
Click here to read the entire letter.
The White House responded in April. Months later she received a call ahead of President Obama’s visit. Martin walked on stage at Baxter Arena in Omaha and introduced the president Wednesday afternoon.
More than 8,000 people in the crowd cheered on the president. But behind the spectacle, Martin says what struck out about meeting Mr. Obama was his personality.
“He is just a regular guy. They kept saying, ‘Just treat him like he’s a regular guy, like he’s your friend coming into your home.’ And that’s truly what he is,” Martin said.
The “regular guy” gave a Papillion teacher and her family a day they will always remember. Martin said she would teach her students about preparation and public speaking. There are other lessons to take away from her story too.
“[I want them to know] that they can be the change. They just have to speak up,” she said.
President Obama also visited with neighbors during his visit. Martin and others inside the home will talk more about it on Thursday.