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Laura Bush Speaks In Sioux Falls

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Wednesday night, individuals and businesses representatives from across South Dakota gathered in Sioux Falls to honor law enforcement and raise funds for children’s organizations.


It's the largest gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement in the United States, according to event chairman Gene Abdallah.


While this is big news in itself, perhaps the bigger news was that a former first lady came to speak to the large crowd.


Laura Bush began by thanking fundraiser founder and event chairman Gene Abdallah for his 30 years of work with the event.  He will be retiring after this year.


Bush gave updates on what her family is up to now:  Her daughter, Jenna, now works as a correspondent for NBC.


Her husband, former President George Bush, is working on the Bush Presidential Library at SMU.


Bush says its life back to normal after leaving the White House.  She says she has to remind the former President to pick up his socks.


Those at Wednesday's event talked about what it's like having such a big name in Sioux Falls.


"I think it's very exciting, I've always admired her, she was a very gracious first lady, she has a lot of class, had a lot of good things she tried to do, I believe,” said JoAnne Hillman, president of Beef Bucks, Inc.


“To be able to hear from her, it's a huge honor and a great opportunity for everyone here in South Dakota,” said Paul Krueger, president of Make-A-Wish South Dakota.


While Laura Bush was obviously the night's main draw, Wednesday's focus was on raising money for charities like Make-A-Wish, S.D. Special Olympics and the Ronald McDonald House.


Abdallah says the event will bring this year’s total contributions to over $1.5 million for children.



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