CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Jessie Grubb, battling heroin addiction at a rehab facility in Michigan, turned on her computer last week and queued up a live video.
Her addiction wasn’t a secret; close friends and family knew. But it wasn’t really out there.
On Wednesday afternoon Jessie Grubb watched as her father told the president of the United States about her struggle with addiction. President Barack Obama was in Charleston Wednesday for an event focusing on opiate addiction and West Virginia’s alarmingly high rate of overdose deaths.
“She cried and said it was both hard to watch and also heartwarming to watch,” said her father, David Grubb. “My God, the president’s talking about me; on the other hand, you’re thinking ‘oh my God what a terrible situation.’”
For years, the struggle had been a family matter, largely private.
“We didn’t tell people,” said David Grubb, a former state senator and the founder of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group. “We just dealt with it that way.”
After the event, Obama sought out Kate Grubb, David’s wife and Jessie’s mother, in the crowd.
“He whispered in her ear that moms need hugs and he gave her a big hug,” David Grubb said. “It was so touching and so moving.”
Since Wednesday, people have been coming out of the woodwork to offer their support to both David Grubb and his daughter…