Jill Biden praised the people of Kentucky for coming together in the wake of December’s deadly tornado, saying it’s “who we are as Americans.”
The first lady visited a neighborhood Friday that is still recovering from the tornado, the deadliest in state history. About 20 residents gathered to talk to 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 devastation in the area – all the houses had some damage. Garbage lay in the courtyards and on the edges of the streets. There were shattered pieces of glass covering the ground.
She met affected families, workers who helped repair roofs and a woman who made food for the neighborhood.
Jill Biden meets 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: This is really who we are as Americans. And you know, we come together and we help each other’
A mother, 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, was “slightly injured” in the tornado. She described the storm as a “nightmare.”
“We’re getting help,” Mustafa said, adding “we’re so grateful.”
Jill Biden knelt to talk to the two girls, who were holding stuffed animals.
Later, during a visit to a recovery center, the first lady said the visit reminded her that Americans come together and help each other.
“This is really who we are as Americans,” she said as she helped prepare donated clothing to be given to those in need. “And you know, we come together and help each other.”
The December tornadoes killed 77 people and the state is still building.
The first lady made another journey. She was originally supposed to come to the state on January 6, but had to postpone due to the weather.
Her travels come two weeks after President Joe Biden visited two of the worst-hit communities — Dawson Springs and Mayfield — a few weeks ago. She and President Biden also visited Colorado last week to review the damage from wildfires there.
At the recovery center, Jill Biden helped Republican Representative Brett Guthrie, Democratic administration Andy Beshear and other local officials hang donated clothing on hangers.
She worked with Guthrie who hung kids’ shirts on hangers.
She held up a red and black one with a spider and its web on it.
“Someone will love that,” she said, hanging it on a hanger.
She also came across a green T-shirt that read Philadelphia Eagles – her home soccer team.
“That suits me,” she joked, keeping it to herself. It was a bit small.
Jill Biden and Republican Representative Brett Guthrie help prepare donated clothing at a recovery center
Jill Biden holds up a Philadelphia Eagles shirt someone donated — that’s her hometown’s soccer team
First lady Jill Biden listens to a Creekwood resident who was struck by a tornado in Bowling Green, Ky.
Jill Biden met shoppers and volunteers at a recovery center
Jill Biden accompanied Democratic Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky first lady Britainy Beshear as they visit those affected by the tornado
She also saw the shopping center, where people in need can pick out (free) donated clothes, towels, toys and non-perishable food.
The center also has a space where people can request help 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’ve never been out of our minds. As we had our Christmas dinner, as we said our Christmas prayers, we thought of the families of Kentucky.”
“All around us there is sorrow… for the destruction of homes and villages… for every life lost. It will take time to make this beautiful place whole. But here too there is faith. There is power. And there is so much hope, if we know where to look: among the first responders and volunteers… among 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 having a hard time, come to a Disaster Recovery Center. There are centers all over the state, so let your friends and family know help is available,” she concluded.