Cutting a rug with ‘W’

Published 11:09 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

The daughter of a Chilton County native had an up-close encounter with President Bush recently during a visit to the White House.

7-year-old Endya Singleton, daughter of Petty Officer 1st Class Harold Singleton and Stacy Singleton, attended a children’s holiday reception and performance held for the children of military families.

The Singletons live on Dahlgren Naval Base in Dahlgren, Va., where Endya attends a school of the same name. Her mother, the former Stacy Reed, graduated from Jemison High School in 1997 and is the daughter of Sam and Julia Reed of Jemison.

“We knew she was going, but we had no idea she was going to see the President,” Stacy Singleton said. “We were shocked when we saw pictures and video of our child with the President, like he’s our next-door neighbor.”

At the end of the ceremony, Endya wasn’t shy at all about approaching President Bush. He tap danced with all the kids and at the end leaned over and hugged her.

Endya said she wouldn’t have expected to meet the President in that manner.

“I didn’t know he would be tap dancing,” she laughed. “He danced with my other friends, and we got in a big circle.”

The kids also met First Lady Laura Bush and enjoyed hot cocoa, cookies, gingerbread and orange juice. Jazz band Sweet Heaven’s Kings performed at the event, which was held in the East Room of the White House.

President Bush told the kids to thank their parents for serving their country.

“I am glad you’re here because I wanted to thank your moms and dads for serving the United States of America,” he said during the ceremony. “We love being with our military families because it gives us a chance to express the sincere and deep appreciation of all Americans for the sacrifices that families make. So I want to thank you for standing by your moms and dads, and telling them you’re proud of them, and telling them you love them.”

Endya’s grandparents were also pretty excited about her experience.

“It’s not every day somebody gets to dance with the President,” Julia Reed said.