New Haven woman remembers President’s kindness and authenticity

FILE - In this May 1, 2011, file photo, President Barack Obama reads his statement to photographers after making a televised statement on the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – Julie Osterman can’t believe how fast the time has gone. On Tuesday she’ll watch President Barack Obama give his farewell address. Even after he’s left office, Osterman has her memories of meeting him, and a picture to prove it.

It’s been nearly eight years since millions watched President Barack Obama take the oath of office, but nearly a year before it even happened, then U.S. Senator Barack Obama visited Oak Pointe Senior Living Community in Columbia City.

“I remember that day like it was yesterday,” Miller’s at Oak Pointe Activities Director Julie Osterman said.

The plan on May 1, 2008 was for Obama to visit the assisted living section of the facility. Osterman worked on the nursing home side.

“I was afraid because he was going to the assisted living that I wouldn’t get to see him,” Ostermand said.

But Osterman was asked to bring some of the nursing home residents over to see him. About half a dozen chose to go. Osterman said the president held a question and answer forum.

Afterward he approached her and asked Osterman what she wanted to see changed if he became president. With two step sons who have served in Iraq, she wanted to see an end to the war.

“That’s when he said, ‘do you want to take a picture with me,'” Ostermand said. “I said that would be great. He gave me a hug and thanked me for my sons’ services.”

She’ll never forget the feeling she got from the senator from Illinois that day.

“You could see through his eyes he meant what he was saying and it wasn’t just politics,” Osterman said.

The nursing home residents she brought to see Obama have since passed, but she’s so happy she could be a part of such a remarkable day for them.

“That’s part of being an activity director,” she said. “You get to see the happy times.”