Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech
Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech Cynthia Dias holds Copper, a friend's dog who she looks after, at her apartment in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech
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A formerly homeless veteran from Las Vegas was invited to sit in first lady Michelle Obama's visitor box during the State of the Union address.  The speech was on Jan. 12.
 
Cynthia Dias, 64, served during the Vietnam War.  She was on a hospital ship as a registered nurse. She attributed her years of homelessness to post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
About a year ago, Dias says, she was able to move from a homeless shelter for women and children into a former motel in downtown Las Vegas. It was renovated through private donations. Now it provides 122 units of housing for veterans. While staying in Veterans Village, residents like Dias get access to health care, job training and counseling.
 
The Obama administration is highlighting a challenge that the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015.
 
Las Vegas responded to the call. City leaders say they have enough services and programs in place to house every homeless veteran.
 
Dias said she's in shock from Mrs. Obama's invitation. Dias hopes people will think about her survival when they see her.
 
"I survived and I'm thriving here at Veterans Village," Dias said.
 
"For me, it's been a heaven-sent gift to be among other veterans who are suffering from PTSD," she said. "The camaraderie that veterans have for one another, it's better medication than the anti-depressants."
 
The founder of Veterans Village is Arnold Stalk.  He said it's important to get veterans off the street first and into a stable environment. Once that happens, it's easier to provide the health care and other support they'll need to live in a home permanently.
 
Dias was to join two other Obama guests. They are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign.
 
One is Edith Childs, of Greenwood, South Carolina.  She met Obama at a rally in her state in June 2007. Obama credits her with coining the "Fired up! Ready to go!" call-and-response. It became a rallying cry for both of his White House bids.
 
Another guest was expected to be Earl Smith.  He was head of security at an Austin hotel when he met Obama in February 2008. He gave Obama a military patch he had carried with him for 40 years. Obama carried it with him for the rest of the campaign.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/once-homeless-vet-invited-attend-state-union-speech/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did Mrs. Obama invite the vet instead of someone more famous?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (52)
  • hcoke-wime
    1/19/2016 - 01:11 p.m.

    This story is so sweet. I feel horrible that a woman that went and risked her life to serve in the U.S forces was homeless. I feel like vets should be honored for what they have contributed all of us. So I'm thankful that Cynthia Dias got to finally be honored!

  • marshallh-wes
    1/19/2016 - 02:40 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the veterans instead of famous people because Obama wasn't looking for a famous person instead a veteran. Obama was most likly to invite a veteran to have them talk a about the rally to get veterans off the streets an back to work or families and support them by teaching them how to cook clean give the veterans Heath support. That is most likly the reason why Obama invited veterans and not famous people.

  • myas-wes
    1/19/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    Mrs Obama invited the vet becasue she felt bad for her and how she was living and wanted to help in some way so that is why she chose for the vet to stay with her. That is so amasing of mrs.obama

  • heavent-wes
    1/19/2016 - 02:51 p.m.

    Ms.Obama helped Dias get back on her feet. So she started a private donation for Dias. Ms.Obama sent Dias an invitation. So u know Dias probably thinking like finally everybody is going to know about her survival. There were one Obama guest who was Dias because he wanted to settle for his inspirtion for his compaign.

  • katelynh-hol
    1/19/2016 - 08:33 p.m.

    This article was a lady named Cynthia dias who was a homeless veteran and later lived in veterans village where she is safe and has access to health care job training and counseling then later got to meet Mrs. Obama

  • annabel1226-yyca
    1/19/2016 - 09:59 p.m.

    How does Mrs. Obama bring Dias to the speech. I hope people aren't mad at that. I hope other people could do that too. See, what if you become one of those homeless people and everyone makes fun of you, how would you feel? If I am a adult and have thousands of money I would help the homeless people. I hope my dream comes true.

  • lisbetr-orr
    1/20/2016 - 12:58 p.m.

    I think that this is a really great story to read. I think that because it kinda talks about kindness. Mrs.Obama gave Dias a shelter because she was homeless cause she was in war. It makes me happy that people still do stuff like that cause know a days theirs homelessness everywhere and when I can I give them something that I know will be useful for them like food or a blanket. I think that Mrs.Obama invented the vet instead of someone famous because she felt bad that their was too many homeless's who needed shelter. She did the right thing on giving homeless people a place to live in.

  • jenniferb-orr
    1/20/2016 - 01:01 p.m.

    Mrs.Obama invited the vet Dias instead of someone more famous because she felt that the woman who help all lot save people should get something in return "Dias was join two other Obama guests" which honor everything that Dias did for those people.In other words Obama was really nice of honor Dias.

  • julibethm-orr
    1/20/2016 - 01:04 p.m.

    Mrs.obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because she was a veteran that served our country. I think that Dias was lucky to have gotten out of being a homeless.

  • gilberte-orr
    1/20/2016 - 01:44 p.m.

    I am happy that the Vice President wife has gotten them a home. Because when they come home they are sad if there best man dies. Or the captain they need too go talk too some on tell them what they are feeling. Because I know what they are feeling i know how it feels. It is horrible they are not feeling there selves. I am saying this too all the veterans hooray ????????????????????????????

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