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Brainerd couple watched grandson introduce Obama

One Brainerd couple watched with particular interest and no small amount of pride Friday when their grandson, Ryan Sullivan, introduced President Barack Obama at his appearance at Honeywell in Golden Valley.

“It brought tears to our eyes,” Donna Williams said Monday.

Sullivan, a Navy veteran and Honeywell employee, did a good job according to his grandmother, who watched the television broadcast of the event from her Todd Street home.

“He was really smooth,” she said.

The Rochester Post Bulletin reported that Sullivan’s son, Tyler, who accompanied his father, obtained a handwritten note from the president, explaining the fifth-grader’s absence from school Friday.

“Mr. Ackerman, please excuse Tyler. He was with me!” the president wrote.

Ryan Sullivan, 34, is the son of Brainerd High School graduates and former residents Mike Sullivan and Kristy Burke.

Although most grandparents would relish the bragging rights of a grandson who provided an introduction for the president, Williams said her husband, retired teacher, didn’t even mention it Monday when he had coffee with former colleagues.

“He’s kind of quiet,” she said.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860