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Fans Flock to See ‘Awesome’ First Lady

January 11, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama announces an initiative to improve medical care for military personnel. (CNS photo by Zack Budryk)

By Leah Small
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The crowd included doctors in white coats and soldiers in fatigues. They were among a few hundred anxious admirers who flocked to see first lady Michelle Obama during her visit to Virginia Commonwealth University on Wednesday.

Nina Badoe, a second-year medical student at VCU, described herself as a big fan of Obama.

“When you see her, she’s out working in the community. She’s just a regular classy, sophisticated, intelligent and awesome sort of a woman. She’s a role model for younger and older women alike,” Badoe said.

Marine Spc. Arce Carla excitedly snapped pictures from her seat with her cell phone before Obama graced the stage. Carla was one of the lucky service members chosen from Fort Lee to hear the first lady announce a nationwide initiative to improve medical care for military personnel.

“She is a good example of what a lady should look like and how a lady should behave. She supports her husband, and she supports the military,” Carla said.

Army Capt. Nicholas Poppins connected with Obama’s words of encouragement and sympathy for troops who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and other neurological conditions.

“I think every leader has been through or has soldiers who have been through these issues on a regular basis,” Poppins said.

In her speech, Obama noted that PTSD and other conditions were not a source of shame and that people should seek help. But Poppins said many people still feel uncomfortable getting treatment.

“There is always going to be that machismo of ‘I don’t need it and I don’t want it,’ ” he said.

People at the event approved not only of Obama’s message but also of her sense of fashion.

“I think she looked stunning in her blue dress and shiny blue shoes,” said Sara Peterson, a third-year medical student.

After her speech, Obama stepped down from the stage to take pictures with the servicemen – photos sure to be seen on many Facebook profiles.

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