Huge show of support for President Obama at Concord HS

Published: Jun. 1, 2016 at 8:41 PM EDT
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President Obama had a huge show of support this afternoon at Concord High School.

More than a thousand people turned out to see President Obama for what is, likely, the last time he'll visit Michiana as commander in chief.

Folks started lining up at 7 a.m., waiting a good six hours before the doors opened.

“It was very exciting for me...very exciting. It meant a lot because he talked about issues I was interested in, about our wages, about our economy, how it improved, and me myself, I saw an improvement,” said Louise Alkhafaji, supporter.

Every seat in the house was taken, leaving standing room only. Some people who had tickets, did not make it inside for capacity reasons.

Upon arrival, president Obama was greeted with a very warm welcome and standing ovation.

“I've always wanted to meet President Obama. I got to shake his hand. I love his message, I think he's brought a lot of positivity to the area and I love the way he said we all have to work together,” said Annette Gross, supporter.

Several supporters who attended the event tell me they were proud to have President Obama back in Elkhart.

“It’s nice to see when he came we were in such trouble, back then, the economy was bad and everything, and now you can come back and see all the things he promised and said he would do,” said Jerome Carter, supporter.

“He was here in ’09 when we were in the depths of despair, and for him to come back and see how well we’ve done, the programs he’s put in place to help Elkhart County are phenomenal, and I know a lot of people think otherwise, but you know what when you’re on the front lines and you’re working in manufacturing, hey this is all there is for you. If he can make a difference in our lives, absolutely come back and see how well we’ve done,” said Jennifer Charvat, supporter.

And for the South Bend woman chosen to introduce him, President Obama’s return hit close to home.

“Back in 2009, I wrote him a letter, just completely frustrated with the state of the economy. I was an average working person, trying to take care of my kids. We built our house with our own hands,” said Kelly Rizzo, introduced President Obama at Concord High School.

The Rizzo’s were in jeopardy of losing everything. In 2009, Rizzo attended President Obama’s speech in Elkhart but was not chosen to ask a question, inspiring her to write a letter. Since then, the White House has kept in touch.

“Truly, when I said in my speech I wanted to shake his hand and say thank you, that was a sincere statement from the heart, because had that loan modification program not gone through for my family, it made all the difference in the world to us,” said Rizzo.

Rizzo called his message inspiring to the whole family.