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Mom to mom: Brye introduces first lady

September 5, 2012
By KEVIN HOWELL , Salem News

CHARLOTTE- A military mom has once again been called upon by the first lady.

Elaine Brye of Winona introduced Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte Tuesday night, sharing her message of support for military families.

Brye and her husband, Courtney, parents of four military personnel in four different branches, shared the head table at a state dinner at the White House in March welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron after she wrote a Christmas card and letter to Obama in appreciation of her efforts in support of military families.

The latest opportunity came as just as big a surprise, she said.

"I was totally shocked again," she said. "I mean, who gets to do this twice?"

Brye said she received a call while returning home from a visit with her mother-in-law and initially thought it was about a request she had submitted for a tour of the White House. Instead it was an invitation from Obama to attend the convention with her.

A second call was a request that she introduce the first lady.

"I was speechless," she said. "This was completely unexpected and unsought."

As a former junior/senior high school science teacher at United Local and a current plebe moderator for the Naval Academy Parents Listserv offering advice to parents of new naval recruits, Brye said she has written speeches in the past but not on such a large scale. She said she worked with a speech writer to make her message of taking care of military families fit into a two-minute time frame.

"It's a message that everyone can come together, and it doesn't matter what your position is," she said.

A budding relationship with the first lady is something that Brye said she is honored by.

"As a fellow mother who cares about their children and their service [it means a lot]," she said. "There are a lot of long days and sleepless nights while your children are in harm's way and to think that the Commander-in-chief and first lady are thinking about us is just amazing. And for her to want to be a friend...."

The Bryes, who met in the Air Force, are the parents of a son who is a captain in the Marines, a son who is a lieutenant in the Navy, a daughter who is a first lieutenant in the Air Force and a son who is a second lieutenant in the Army.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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