---- — WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced that Derry native David Taylor would be her guest of honor Feb. 12 at the State of the Union address in Washington.
Taylor, an Army veteran and former Derry Fire Explorer, was wounded by an improvised explosive device while serving on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011. He lost a leg below the knee as a result of his injuries.
As her guest of honor, Taylor joined Shaheen in the House Chamber for the joint session of Congress and address from President Obama on Tuesday.
Shaheen and Taylor met in 2011 when she visited him at Walter Reed Army Medical Center following his return from Afghanistan. The two have stayed in contact and Shaheen honored Taylor in May 2012 at the Derry Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Day Parade. Shaheen was moved to invite Taylor because of his resolve and courage in the face of adversity.
“The service and bravery of David Taylor represent the very best of the United States and all those who commit to protect our country," Shaheen said. "In New Hampshire and especially in Derry, we are proud to call David one of our own. His story demonstrates the selflessness of our men and women in uniform, and reminds us to say thank you to all those who fight for our freedom, today and every day. I am thrilled David will be able to join me and I am honored for the opportunity to thank him for his service.”
Taylor added his appreciation for the invitation and for Shaheen’s work on behalf of veterans in New Hampshire.
“It is an honor and enormous thrill to be invited by Sen. Shaheen,” he said before the event. “Attending the State of the Union is a once in a lifetime opportunity and yet another display of Sen. Shaheen working to support veterans. I have no doubt it will be an unforgettable experience.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen has been a strong advocate for veterans. She helped ensure that health-care benefits would be fully exempt from cuts to federal spending and has pushed Congress to pass the Veterans Jobs Corps Act and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. She has also co-sponsored legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide for a full-service VA hospital for veterans in New Hampshire.