Teen Shakes President’s Hand, Shares Patriotism

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mitchell Van Patten, 14, is the 2011 American Legion National Shooting Champion. He competed at a national shooting match and won.

He was invited to speak at the American Legion convention. His father, Brent, said his message was that of patriotism.

“And about how the American Legion shooting sports program has helped to develop him with his shooting, and what an honor and privilege it is to be at the convention,” said Brent.

Mitchell admitted to being nervous, speaking in front of such a big crowd.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

“My shooting requires me to stay calm even if I’m nervous,” Mitchell said.

His mother, Gail, was very impressed and proud.

“We thought he did a fantastic job. He worked hard on his speech and got his nerves under control, and we were really proud of him,” she said.

After President Obama addressed the crowd, he made his way around the stage shaking hands and greeting people.

“I thought it could happen but I didn’t expect it,” said Mitchell.

And when it did:

“I thought it was very nice he came up and shook our hands,” he said.

When asked about his reaction to the president’s speech, he shrugged and simply said, “It was OK.”

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