Rep. Demings’ SOTU Guest: Mass Shooting First Responder
Congresswoman Val Demings will be joined at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30th by Orlando Police Department Officer Adam Gruler (“groo-ler”) and his wife Jaimi Gruler.
In the early hours of June 12th, 2016, a gunman attacked the Pulse Nightclub, a hub and refuge for Orlando’s LGBT community, killing 49 victims and wounding 53 others. Officer Gruler was working security and was initially the lone, outgunned officer on the scene of what became the worst mass shooting in U.S. history (until passed by the Las Vegas shooting last year).
Since the shooting, Adam and Jaimi Gruler have refocused on family, and recently adopted three young children, growing their family from six to nine children. As the former Chief of the Orlando Police Department, Rep. Demings has known Officer Gruler for decades.
Said Rep. Demings, “I’m honored to be joined by Adam and Jaimi at this year’s State of the Union address. 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.”
Said Adam and Jaimi Gruler, “We’re honored to be guests at the State of the Union and grateful to Congresswoman Demings for inviting us. Together, we have more than thirty years of public service between us as a teacher and law enforcement officer. We’ve known countless men and women, including Congresswoman Demings, who put our community before themselves, and did what was right, even when it was hard. Public service is extremely important to our family and our faith. We’ve tried to live those values, and to teach our growing family the same.
“The State of the Union is an opportunity for Congress and the President to recommit to their mission of service. We believe that our government can and should come together to work in unison for every American, no matter who they are or where they come from. We’re proud to represent our community at this year’s speech, and hope that our leaders will remember that our government is a public trust and that their job is to serve every American.”
Adam Gruler has been with the Orlando Police Department for 17 years, and formerly served for five years with the U.S. Army as a military policeman. Jaimi Gruler has been a teacher for 17 years, and recently began developing curriculum for Florida Virtual School. They have nine children.