Wednesday, June 13, 2012

President Obama Hosts Father's Day Luncheon At Kenny's BBQ Smokehouse In Washington, DC

Promoting Fatherhood Buzz campaign with Army officers and barbers...
In an event that wasn't listed on his official daily schedule, President Obama on Wednesday had a special early Father's Day luncheon at Kenny's BBQ Smokehouse in Northeast Washington, DC. He was joined by four guests, all fathers: Two barbers and two members of the military who are participating in Administration efforts to promote better fatherhood. Above, the President is with, from right Otis Gamble of Mason's Barber Shop; US Army Captain Joubert Paulino; Nurney Mason, owner of Mason's Barber Shop, and US Army First Lieutenant William Edwards, 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner.

The President arrived at Kenny's by motorcade at 12:11 PM. Lunchtime conversation was about efforts to spread the good word about responsible parenting through Health and Human Services "Fatherhood Buzz" program, an initiaitive "designed to reach out to dads with positive information through barbers and barber shops as a part of the Administration's longstanding Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative," according to the White House statement about the luncheon.

The President and his companions enjoyed a half-hour feast at the traditional joint. With his shirtsleeves rolled up, his jacket off, the President dined on steaming beef ribs, collard greens, black eyed peas, rice and a corn muffin from a styrofoam takeout container, washed down with bottled water.

"The more information we’re getting out there to folks about how they could take responsibility for their kids, make sure that they're in their child’s lives, help support their mother even if they're not living with the mother, makes a huge difference," the President said.

"It turns out that with the father being involved, the kids are less likely to do drugs, they're less likely to--girls are less likely to get pregnant," President Obama said. (Above: The President and Edwards)

"It makes a huge difference," he said, adding that "barbershops are a good place to do it, so that's where everybody hangs out -- right?"

The President joked that members of the military should get a barber discount, noting the length of their hair, and gesturing at Edward's close crop.

"It wouldn't be that complicated," he said.

The President's press pool was ushered out after he announced "we're going to eat in peace now," and started to work on a rib.

Pork ribs, chicken, a three-side order and corn bread go for $9.50 per person minimum at Kenny's.  The bill for the President and his  guests was $55.58, but was left unpaid when the President left, according to pool.  The White House corrected the oversight, and settled up the tab by the end of the business day.

The President returned to the White House at 1:06 PM, ahead of a scheduled Oval Office bilateral meeting with Israel President Shimon Peres. This evening, President Obama will host a special dinner for Peres in the East Room, as he awards him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Obama's last food excursion in the District was to DC's Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop on May 16th, where he picked up hoagies for a Congressional luncheon.

From the White House, the bios for the President's guests:

1. 1st Lieutenant William (Bill) Edwards of the U.S. Army is the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner as selected by the National Fatherhood Initiative. He is currently based at Fort Jackson in South Carolina where he lives with his wife of 13 years, Esther, and their four children. Lt. Edwards uses his musical and cinematic talents to stay connected with his four children before, during, and after his deployments. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq. While he was deployed, he sent a flag that had flown over Camp Victory headquarters in Iraq to his daughter's preschool as a reminder of how much he cared about his family.

2. CPT Joubert Paulino of the U.S Army is currently based at Fort Meade in Maryland where he resides with his wife of 16 years, Ginamarie, and their two children Jonah, age 6, and Julia, age 4. CPT Paulino uses his desire for adventure to stay connected with his children. For example, he involves his children in the selection process of states or countries where they would like to start an adventure or experience of a lifetime. This year, his children have selected to snorkel the reefs of Hawaii. CPT Paulino continuously travels for his specialized emergency response team, and serves his country through chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, however CPT Paulino also manages to stay very involved in his son Jonah's Tiger Scout troop.

3. Nurney Mason has operated Mason’s Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington, D.C. continuously for 51 years and is one of the longest-standing business owners in Washington. Mason also cuts hair in the U.S. House of Representatives when he’s not at his own shop. Mason has been married for over 30 years and has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He co-owns Mason’s Barber Shop with his son, Robbie. Mason’s Barber Shop is a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign lead by HHS, which is reaching out to dads with positive information through barbers and barber shops.

4. Otis “Big O” Gamble is still an active barber at Mason’s Barber Shop, a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign lead by HHS. Nurney Mason hired him 45 years ago, and they’ve been cutting hair together ever since. Mr. Gamble picked cotton in South Carolina as a young man and has had a successful career in the U.S. Army and as a barber, raising three wonderful children, including a son who is retired from the Army and a daughter who is currently a Major in the Army. “Big O” still hosts an annual 4th of July Bar-B-Q for the entire H Street Neighborhood.

*For more information on Fatherhood Buzz,

Info: Kenny's BBQ Smokehouse is located at 732 Maryland Avenue Northeast, Washington, DC, 2002. Phone: 202-547-4553.

*Pool photos