First Baptist Church of Winter Garden Senior Pastor Tim Grosshans was invited to the address by Sen. Marco Rubio.
Pastor Tim Grosshans took a deep breath as he stood among other audience members who were listening to President Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union Address. He savored the moment and thought about how lucky he was to be there.
“The thing that hit me is what a privilege I had to be in that room,” Grosshans said. “It was really a one in a 300 million chance that I would be one of the folks to be able to sit in that room and hear the president speak.”
Grosshans, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Winter Garden, said he was invited to attend the State of the Union Address after he got a call from Sen. Marco Rubio’s office.
“I’ve been a big fan of Marco Rubio; he was my pick for president,” Grosshans said. “Rubio has actually been here to the church on a couple of different occasions. His outreach director is a personal friend of mine.”
Before the address started, Grosshans mingled with other attendees and got to meet reigning Miss America Cara Mund.
“She was really sweet,” Grosshans said. “She was real chatty (and) having the time of her life. … She was just taking it all in.”
“It was really a one in a 300 million chance that I would be one of the folks to be able to sit in that room and hear the president speak.”
Grosshans thought the president delivered a good speech that was well received. However, he said some people in the room that day may have thought differently.
“The partisan divide was palpable, (and) I was saddened by that,” Grosshans said. “I would understand that there were some policy things that they disagreed with … but like I said, the partisan divide is sad.”
In addition to a speech from the president, attendees also heard from Ji Seong-ho, a man who defected from North Korea on a pair of wooden crutches.
“Another inspiring moment was the young man from North Korea who had lost his legs,” Grosshans said. “He had a set of crutches that he held up that he had (used to) travel across (North Korea).”
Although the experience is one he won’t ever forget, this wasn’t the first time Grosshans had seen a president in person. In fact, Grosshans has had the opportunity to meet presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton.
“(Bush) actually came to First Baptist Church of Orlando when I was there,” Grosshans said. “That was great fun fooling with the Secret Service. … I had such fun with them. They were just a bunch of good ol’ guys. We were laughing and cutting up, and when Bush showed up, it’s like a steel rod snapped in their backs. They just went from casual young guys to meaning business.”
Grosshans didn’t get to meet Trump that day, however, he did sit 12 seats away from First Lady Melania Trump.
“She’s as good looking in person as she is on television,” he said.