Two guests. Two themes.
U.S. Reps. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, who represent portions of Tarrant County, each invited a constituent as their guest to attend the State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Each member is entitled to invite one guest.
Veasey’s guest: Yolonde Rocio, 54, a veteran of the first Gulf War from Forest Hill who is active in helping veterans, especially homeless veterans.
“I invited her to come to the State of the Union to tell her story,” said Veasey. “There are a lot of veterans in the Fort Worth community who are really hurting.”
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Rocio, who spent 14 years in the military, said “the skills I had learned in the military didn’t translate well to the outside” like supervising tanks. She has spent the last six years creating nonprofits to help veterans adjust to civilian life through training programs. “The word homeless and veterans should never be in the same sentence,” said Rocio.
Veasey attended a recent screening of American Sniper in Washington and said that the film’s star, Bradley Cooper — who plays a Navy SEAL, the late Chris Kyle of Midlothian — had said that veterans and their families needed assistance in the transition to a post-military life. Kyle was killed in 2013 at a gun range southwest of Fort Worth by a troubled veteran he was trying to help.
Williams’ guest: David Feucht, 52, a Burleson police detective who was shot in December while trying to stop a bank robbery.
“Detective Feucht is truly a hometown hero,” said Williams. “Having someone of David's character and dedication attend as my guest is an honor. Law enforcement officers don't seek recognition for doing their job. But they deserve it. I am proud to recognize Detective Feucht for his courageous actions and for his many years of service to the people of Burleson.”
The plainclothes detective and a colleague, who were on their way to lunch, stepped in when they were alerted that there was a bank robbery. Both were shot and Feucht, in serious condition from his injuries, underwent surgery at John Peter Smith Hospital.
Asked about being invited to the speech, he said, “I was completely surprised. Wow. This is a great honor and a chance to witness history.”
Asked if he was a supporter of President Obama’s, Feucht laughed and said he wasn’t getting into politics. “I’m just here to enjoy the night.”
For Feucht, who has been with the Burleson Police Department for 23 years, Williams’ invitation was a support for all law enforcement.
Maria Recio is the Star-Telegram’s Washington bureau chief.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @maria_e_recio