After being personally invited to the White House and appearing on national television at Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, 12-year-old Preston Sharp is back home in Redding.
He said it was an unbelievable experience he never expected would happen.
“What was going through my head was I can't believe I'm here,” Preston said. “It was a great honor to be there sitting next to the first lady and it was just an awesome experience.”
During his time in Washington D.C., Preston, his mom and brother got a VIP tour of the White House and met the president, vice president and the first and second ladies.
He even got to knock down a few pins in the White House bowling alley.
And through it all, he took some time to honor veterans at Annapolis National Cemetery in Maryland.
“And on Saturday, I honored veterans in Maryland because I haven't done that cemetery in Maryland yet,” Preston said.
It's for that dedication that he was recognized by the president during Tuesday night's State of the Union Address.
His personal mission to honor veterans started with a few grave sites at Redding's Memorial Cemetery only two years ago.
And since then he's honored more than 40,000 fallen veterans by placing flags and flowers on their graves.
“I thought it was just going to be that cemetery that I was going to keep on doing over and over,” Preston said.
He said he definitely never thought he would catch the eye of the highest office in the land.
“I had no clue or idea that this would ever happen,” he said. “And I wasn't expecting to meet the president or do anything like this.”
Through it all, Preston remains grounded and thankful for all the support he's received in the North State and beyond
“I'd say thank you because this wouldn't happen with all the support and donations people give me and help at the cemeteries,” Preston said.
He said it’s good to be home, but he's exhausted and his mom said he has a lot of school work to catch up on.