The surviving spouse of an Ohio National Guardsman will be in attendance Tuesday night for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.
Danielle Robinson, of Columbus, Ohio, is among eight citizens selected to sit in First Lady Jill Biden’s box at the address. Her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson died in May 2020 after being diagnosed with a “rare autoimmune disorder and Stage 4 lung cancer,” a news release stated.
Heath had deployed to Kosovo and Iraq over the course of his Guard career and was on active duty when he received his diagnosis. He attributed the cancer to burn-pit exposure while serving overseas, according to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.
A CrossFit “Hero” workout was created in his honor by his friend, Drew Mace, and first programmed in October 2020.
Danielle, who holds a doctorate in physical therapy, advocates for service members and veterans who were “exposed to environmental hazards and burn pits while serving,” the release stated.
Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced the SFC Heath Robinson Burn Pit Transparency Act in 2020, which would have required VA “to submit quarterly reports on veterans’ burn pit exposure,” but the measure didn’t make it out of the Senate.
The eight guests were selected “because they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the president in his speech,” according to the release.
Other guests include:
- Joseph “JoJo” Burgess (Washington, Pennsylvania): New Employee Organization Trainer, United Steelworkers Local 1557
- Joshua Davis (Midlothian, Virginia): 7th Grade, Swift Creek Middle School, Diabetes Advocate
- Refynd Duro (Galloway, Ohio): Progressive Care Unit Nurse, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center
- Patrick “Pat” Gelsinger (Santa Clara, California): Chief Executive Officer, Intel
- Frances Haugen (Iowa City, Iowa): Former Facebook Lead Product Manager on Civic Misinformation
- Melissa Isaac (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan): Gizhwaasod (“Protector of the Young”) at the Michigan Department of Education’s Indigenous Education Initiative and Founder of Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT)’s Project AWARE Program
- Kezia Rodriguez (North Bergen, New Jersey): Student-Parent at Bergen Community College