Jill Biden praised the people of Kentucky for coming together in the aftermath of December’s deadly tornado, saying it is ‘who we are as Americans.’
The first lady on Friday visited a neighborhood still repairing itself from the tornado, the deadliest in the state’s history. About 20 residents gathered to speak with her about their experiences.
Biden offered hugs and words of comfort to children and adults alike. The first lady spoke to them surrounded by the destruction in the neighborhood – all of the houses had some level of damage. Trash was in the yards and on the edges of the steets. There was shattered bits of glass covering the ground.
She met with families affected, workers helping repair roofs and a woman making food for the neighborhood.
Jill Biden meets with Mirjeta Mustafa and her two daughters – Ambla and Ajla – who live in a neighborhood still recovering from the December tornado
Jill Biden praised the people of Kentucky for coming together: Really this is who we are as Americans. And, you know, we come together and we help one another’
One mom, Mirjeta Mustafa, brought her two daughters – Ambla and Ajla – to meet the first lady.
She thanked the first lady for coming and said the eldest daughter Ambla, who is 4, got ‘a little bit injured’ in the tornado. She described the storm as a ‘nightmare.’
‘We are getting help,’ Mustafa said, adding ‘we are so grateful.’
Jill Biden knelt down to speak to the two girls, who were holding stuffed animals.
Later, at during a visit to a recovery center, the first lady said the visit reminded her that Americans come together and help one another.
‘Really this is who we are as Americans,’ she said as she helped prepare donated clothes to be given to those in need. ‘And, you know, we come together and we help one another.’
There were 77 people were killed in the December tornadoes and the state is still rebuilding.
The first lady was making a rescheduled trip. She was originally supposed to come to the state on January 6th but had to postpone because of weather.
Her trips comes two weeks after President Joe Biden visited two of the hardest-hit communities – Dawson Springs and Mayfield – a few weeks ago. She and President Biden also visited Colorado last week to see the damage from wildfires there.
At the recovery center, Jill Biden helped Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and other local officials hang donated clothes on hangers.
She worked with Guthrie hanging children’s shirts on hangers.
She held up a red and black one with a spider and its web on it.
‘Somebody is going to love that,’ she said and put it on a hanger.
She also came across a green T-shirt that said Philadelphia Eagles – which is her home football team.
‘That’s my fit,’ she joked holding it up to her. It was a tad bit small.
Jill Biden and Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie help prepare donated clothing at a recovery center
Jill Biden holds up a Philadelphia Eagles shirt that someone donated – that is her hometown football team
First lady Jill Biden listens to a resident of the Creekwood neighborhood that was hit by a tornado in Bowling Green, Ky
Jill Biden met with shoppers and volunteers at a recovery center
Jill Biden joined Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and and Kentucky first lady Britainy Beshear in visiting those affected by the tornado
She also saw the shopping center, where those in need can pick out (for free) donated clothes, towels, toys, and nonperishable food items.
The center also has an area where people can apply for aid from FEMA and get a COVID test. The first lady was masked during her trip.
She concluded by telling the people of Kentucky that ‘you have never left our thoughts. As we held our holiday dinner, as we said our Christmas prayers, the families of Kentucky were on our minds.’
‘There is grief all around us… for the destruction of homes and hometowns… for every life lost. It will take time to make this beautiful place whole. But there is faith here too. There is strength. And there is so much hope, if only we know where to look: In the first responders and volunteers… in members of this community and Americans across the country—sending donations and praying for your recovery,’ she said.
‘There is hope—and there is help. If you’re struggling, come to a Disaster Recovery Center. There are centers all around the state, so let your friends and family know that help is available,’ she concluded.