Dear Mrs. First Lady,

First, please accept my thanks for your groundbreaking work in helping to reduce our childhood obesity levels significantly in this country! Thank you for being an advocate, a role model, and for making the sustainable health of our future a priority. As a mother and teacher, thank you for your leadership. The second and chief reason for my letter may appear a bit frivolous. However, my motives are pure and my cause is noble.

I would like to request your consideration of inviting my friend, Mrs. Autumn Shirley Smith and her son Paul to the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll. I know at this time the lottery has closed, but I believe Autumn and Paul are worthy of an extension.

150x195-20140303-152925_SmithDugan001Last week, Autumn buried her husband, Dugan Smith, US Army Ret. SPC. During the course of their marriage, Dugan kept Autumn laughing, delighted in his son Paul, and lived bravely with ALS. He participated in fundraisers to help the search for a cure to ALS. His positivity and was a source of inspiration to his Army friends and community. Throughout their marriage, Autumn was and remains a warrior for her family.  Autumn made time, however, to stay fit with her own boot camp program, knowing the importance of self-care as a full-time caretaker for her family.

thesmithsAutumn, formerly a probation officer, is adjusting to life without Dugan. Of this past Friday, she writes:

Friday was Dugan's 41st birthday. The rain came down in buckets...the temperature didn't break 38 degrees, but Dugan's Field Artillery Unit from Ft. Bragg carried out the military honors for him. They stood out in the rain. I'm not sure how long they were out there. Well over an hour. Drenched berets, blue hands, I could see them trying not to flinch while being pelted by the freezing rain. Pride and loneliness filled my heart and a little boy wearing Incredible Hulk socks and his daddy's favorite football sweater filled my lap. Paul kept whispering to me, "I want them to give me the that my flag...can I have the flag"? There was nobody more proud of their father than Paul was when the solider knelt down and presented him with the flag. Paul carried the flag and I carried Paul. And Paul held his head up high as we walked behind the soldiers who carried his dad because as Paul said "that's what happens when you're a superhero." Mrs. Obama, knowing your passion for caring for our military families, as well as your advocacy for the optimal health of a family, would you please kindly consider extending an invitation to the Smiths as you compile your guest list for the annual Easter Egg Roll?

Yours very sincerely, Kendra Stanton Lee Chattanooga, TN