MOORE — For Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, will be a day he won’t soon forget.
The chief’s day started at 5:30 a.m. Oklahoma time on that Tuesday as he embarked upon his adventure to Washington, D.C., to be a guest during President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
Bird was in good company Tuesday evening as he sat in the presidential box with First Lady Michelle Obama and other guests, including survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, a prominent gay professional athlete, a young entrepreneur and a teacher of the year. During his speech, Obama singled out Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger who also was a guest for the speech and who was nearly killed in Afghanistan during one of his 10 deployments.
“He was quite an amazing young man,” Bird said. “It was a wonderful experience and I got to meet a lot of people who have done a lot of amazing things.”
Bird adds that he didn’t get to meet with the president until after the State of the Union Address, when guests were allowed photo opportunities with Obama.
“He knew me because we met when he was in Moore. He asked how Moore was doing and I told him we were doing very well. He was glad to hear that. He was very cordial,” Bird said.
Bird represented all of those who rallied together — firefighters, police officers, teachers, neighbors — to help the Moore community following the May tornado that killed 25 men, women and children, and devastated more than 1,200 homes and businesses in the community.
Bird added that he didn’t return back to the hotel until around 2 a.m. But he isn’t complaining.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Bird said.