Pulse first responder to be guest at State of the Union

By Greg Angel, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018, 4:38 PM EST

The memories of 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub attack will be in the mind of Orlando Police Officer Adam Gruler as he travels to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

  • Pulse first responder to attend State of the Union address
  • Orlando Officer Adam Gruler was working security the night of Pulse
  • Gruler and his wife will be guests of Rep. Val Demings

Gruler and his wife, Jaimi, accepted an invitation to be the guests of Rep. Val Demings at Tuesday’s State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to watching in person the President Donald Trump's inaugural address to a joint session of Congress, Gruler will also have an opportunity to talk with other lawmakers about his 17 years working in law enforcement as an Orlando Police officer.

“I’m honored to be joined by Adam and Jaimi at this year’s State of the Union address,” Demings said. “As officer Gruler’s former Chief at the Orlando Police Department, I am deeply proud of the courage he showed from the first moments of what would become the worst mass shooting in American history. And as Jaimi and Adam’s representative, I am overjoyed by the love and kindness they’ve shown as they grow their family in the wake of tragedy. Like so many others in our community, Adam and Jaimi prove that in the end, love triumphs over hate.”

Gruler was working a security detail at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, when he confronted a gunman who started an attack that would, for a time, be the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“Forty-nine people lost their lives that night — not one of them have been forgotten,” Gruler said. “The incident will never go away, but we can learn from it and we can move forward to a better nation.”

In the days, weeks and months after the Pulse shooting, Gruler says Orlando displayed humanity that can be a lesson for lawmakers.

“That community support and coming together is the way it needs to be,” Gruler said. “We need to come together. We need to realize we can have varying views and thoughts, but at the end of the day, we all have the same goals.”

It is common for members of Congress to invite constituents to be their guests for the State of the Union.