White House invites Cape couple to attend State of the Union

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Rhoda Reeves' friends and relatives were glued to Tuesday's State of the Union address, hoping for a glimpse of the Cape Girardeau entrepreneur who was one of the president's special guests.

Suddenly, she appeared on C-SPAN for a brief moment, smiling in approval and applauding with gusto.

Reeves' status as the ideal representative of the president's proposals to help small-business owners won her the coveted invitation, a White House spokesman said.

Reeves started Horizon Screen Printing and Promotional Products in 1981 with a staff of two, counting her husband, Glenn. Today, she is president and owner of the 20-employee business on Broadway, which produces T-shirts, signs, banners and other promotional products.

She was home caring for her ailing cat Tuesday morning. Four hours later, after a call from the National Federation of Independent Business, she was rushing onto a plane in St. Louis, and her daughter, Sara MacCubbin, was off to the veterinarian with the cat.

Reeves traveled to the Capitol in the presidential motorcade.

An NFIB official told Reeves last week the trip was a possibility, but it seemed unlikely as the day approached with no word.

"I thought, 'This can't be happening. How in the world am I ever going to make it?'" she said, talking on a cell phone before departing from St. Louis. "But we are on this plane right now."

Her husband was to watch with other NFIB members on a television in the White House. The federation's goal is to provide a voice in government for small businesses.

Reeves' involvement with the group put her on the guest list, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel explained.

"The president's economic agenda can be summed up in one word: jobs," he said. "Small businesses are some of the most important economic engines in our country. Rhoda Reeves is a shining example of a small-business owner who has worked very hard to build a business and create jobs in her community."

He said last-minute notices aren't unusual for State of the Union addresses. The preparations range from weeks in advance to only hours.

The couple's son, Dru Reeves, is Horizon's production manager and said he was excited for his parents.

"They have worked hard all their lives, and to be able to do something like this is really neat," he said.

The Reeveses, who have lived in Cape Girardeau for 29 years, planned to return today, about 24 hours from the time they left.

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