Why One Politician Invited A Pulse Nightclub First Responder To The State Of The Union

"Like so many others in our community, Adam and Jaimi prove that in the end, love triumphs over hate."

As the first responder to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, police officer Adam Gruler is no stranger to receiving accolades from politicians and everyday citizens alike. Now, he's scheduled to be a guest of honor at the State of the Union (SOTU) address on Jan. 30.

According to Bustle, Gruler and his wife, Jaimi, were invited to the SOTU by their congressional representative, Democrat Val Demings. As a former law enforcement official, Demings knows Gruler personally from her time as Orlando's police chief, but she invited him to be her guest at the event because of all the good he's done while not on duty.


Prior to the Pulse shooting the Grulers, who each had three sons from previous relationships, were considering adopting a little girl. However, in the aftermath of the tragedy, the family decided they had even more love to give, and ended up adopting 6-year-old twins, Rachel and Stephanie, and the girls' brother, Jonathan, 8.

"Going through that incident allowed me to just re-organize my priorities to what they're supposed to be — putting our family first," Gruler told NBC News.

Per The Orlando Sentinel, the trio's adoptions were finalized in November — on National Adoption Day — and that's what led Demings to invite the Grulers to the SOTU. In addition to being "deeply proud" of the courage Gruler showed during the mass shooting, Demings told the publication, "As Jaimi and Adam's representative, I am overjoyed by the love and kindness they've shown as they grow their family in the wake of tragedy."

She added, "Like so many others in our community, Adam and Jaimi prove that in the end, love triumphs over hate."

Though the Gruler home is now very crowded, neither Adam nor Jaimi have any regrets about expanding their family. "The experience allowed me to recognize the priorities of life," Adam told Today. "It made me reorder my priorities and put family first. It gave me a clearer understanding of the amount of love we have to give."

Said Jaimi of her new children, "It's like they've always been here and always been a part of our family, so I think we're the lucky ones."

Cover image via  Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com.


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