Exes In The House — The White House, That Is

Big ups to standout Texas Ex Ben De Leon, who visited the White House Wednesday and got praise from President Obama for “exemplary service” in mentoring an Austin boy.

De Leon, BA ’01, BS ’01, JD ’04, is a local lawyer, but he’s also known for his volunteer work off the job. As Big Brothers Big Sisters’ National Big Brother of the Year, he was invited to meet the president as part of National Mentoring Month.

Speaking at the press conference, Obama said 15 million young people today need mentors like Ben, mentors of the kind who inspired luminaries Maya Angelou, Steve Jobs, and Ray Charles.  

Last May, when Ben was first honored as National Big Brother of the Year, he chose the Alumni Center as the site for the ceremony. In typical Ben fashion, he turned the focus of the celebration to his “Little Brother,” Anthony Saldaña, who received a football from the Texas Exes, signed by Mack Brown.

Even that great honor, though, paled in comparison to Wednesday’s.

Anthony got to escort Michelle Obama in to the event in the plush, chandeliered East Room. He got to introduce President Obama. And in between, he made very sweet mention of his mentor and the organization that got them together.

“This program means that in addition to my grandma and grandpa, I get to spend time with a wonderful guy like Ben,” he said.

Anthony watched the president speak with his mentor’s arm around him, and Ben was the very first person Obama went over to shake hands with afterward.

Well done, Ben.


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