Obama Meets Military Dads on Fathers Initiative
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 13, 2012 President Barack Obama met today with two active-duty military men in honor of the upcoming Father’s Day weekend and as part of a new “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign.
The president met Army 1st Lt. Bill Edwards and Army Capt. Joubert Paulino, as well as two local barbers, for lunch here at Kenny's BBQ Smokehouse as part of the campaign sponsored by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Buzz campaign is designed to reach out to fathers with positive information through barber shops. The campaign is currently focused on distributing information on financial literacy and job training through barbers to fathers around the country, according to White House officials. Barbers have signed on to the program in at least eight major cities, including Washington, the Clearinghouse website says.
Obama talked about the initiatives with the four men over a platter of beef ribs, greens, black-eyed peas and rice, according to a press pool report. The president said he wants to work with the barbers to spread information about local resources to help fathers.
“It makes a huge difference” to men and their families when fathers are involved with their children, Obama said.
Edwards is the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner. He is based at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he lives with his wife Esther, and their four children. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq. While Edwards was deployed, he sent a flag that had flown over Camp Victory headquarters in Iraq to his daughter's preschool as a reminder of how much he cared about his family.
Paulino is based at Fort Meade, Md., where he lives with his wife, Ginamarie, and their two children, Jonah and Julia. Paulino travels frequently with his specialized emergency response team, part of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense.