First Lady Dr. Jill Biden surveys tornado damage in Bowling Green, visits disaster recovery center
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - First Lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Bowling Green to survey tornado damage from the December 11 tornadoes.
The FLOTUS motorcade arrived in the Creekwood neighborhood of Bowling Green around 12:39 p.m. Dr. Biden was greeted by Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon. He explained to WBKO News that rebuilding is going to take a long time.
“The ones that are wiped out I’m sure they’re going to be 18 months to two years before we get them back in so we have to get some temporary housing here,” said Buchanon.
During her visit spoke to residents in the Creekwood neighborhood. Many of the houses in the neighborhood had some level of damage.
The First Lady then spoke to two women, the Ford Family, whose home had boarded up windows and patches on the roof.
Dr. Biden also spoke to a mom and two little girls, who thanked FLOTUS for coming.
The mother’s eldest daughter, Ambla, was a little injured in the tornado.
“We are getting help,” the mom said, “We are so grateful.”
More people gathered to meet the First Lady, and she asked about the rebuilding process.
One man is helping rebuild houses, and a construction team is working on a house further down the block of Creekwood.
Dr. Biden also visited the Disaster Fulfillment site, where she helped put clothes on hangers.
The First Lady spoke of her message to the people of Kentucky.
“FEMA has been incredible. So I think really this is who we are as Americans. And, you know, we come together and we help one another. And that’s exactly what I saw when Joe and I last week, you know, over in Colorado. So all these natural disasters that are occurring are so tragic and there’s also you know, the residual I think mental health is going to be needed as time goes on here, especially for these little children who have experienced such trauma. But we come together.”
Dr. Jill Biden then stopped at a shop area of food, toys, and clothes for people to get supplies.
Afterward, she stopped at a FEMA area with laptops and staff, to help people apply for funds.
Oscar Salvatier, the task force lead for FEMA, greeted the first lady and explained the process people go through to apply for aid.
Lastly, the First Lady stopped at a Red Cross area, where she delivered remarks.
“We all have been changed by this tragedy, but not diminished - instead we grow becoming strong enough to hold both our greed and our joy. And we bear the unbearable together with mercy and kindness, turning our faces to the glow of dawn and looking for the sunlight of hope that we know we’ll come.”
Many residents WBKO News has heard from have had some issues getting FEMA assistance. Congressman Brett Guthrie said he planned to address these concerns with the First Lady.
“It’s important that she’s here and the deputy FEMA Director is here because you can see pictures,” said Guthrie. “It’s become a little more difficult to apply for assistance than they said it was going to be. And so we just want to make sure people get what, what the programs offer. And in a way that’s sufficient to get it to them. People are hurting -- the house behind these gone.”
At the end of Dr. Biden’s remarks which consisted of promising to help rebuild, she said that she would be back to Kentucky to check in on the progress.
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