First lady Jill Biden tours Bowling Green damage, FEMA Disaster Recovery Center

Jill Biden in Bowling Green
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 19:41:01-05

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVF) — First lady Jill Biden visited the region Friday, landing at Nashville International Airport before making her way to Bowling Green, Kentucky to tour tornado damage from December.

It's been a little more than a month since a deadly tornado tore through the Creekwood neighborhood. While a lot of the loose debris has been picked up, this community is still likely months, maybe even years away, from returning to normal. "Well, you can look around there’s still a lot of work to do. Lot of work to do," said Tammy Wells, a tornado survivor in Bowling Green.

Wells' longtime home was demolished this week. It was just too damaged to be rebuilt. Thankfully, that's not the case for this community's resolve. "Bowling Green strong right now, I mean that from the heart. People that you didn’t know, I’ve never laid eyes on a day in my life, just came out of nowhere to help everybody," said Wells.

That's the message she was able to share with first lady Jill Biden. Biden walked down Spring Creek Avenue, greeting federal and state officials along with people who once called this street home.

"It will take time to make this beautiful place whole again. But what we've seen — what we've all seen today — is there is faith here too. And there's so much strength and there is so much hope," said Biden, later in remarks to reporters.

From there, the first lady toured an old Sears store turned into the epicenter of the tornado recovery. The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center features everything from a medical clinic and clothing donation center, to a showroom floor where the donated items can be added to shopping carts by those who need it most. "I have some canned goods and some things that will just have some longevity in my home," said Emily Bird, a tornado survivor shopping at the FEMA DRC.

Bird says having resources like these at her fingertips means more than she can put into words. "It means the world, it absolutely means the world. Bowling Green’s really banded together and the saying Bowling Green strong — it truly is what it is," said Bird.

Biden promised funding and resources like these will continue until all of Kentucky's neighborhoods are whole once again. "America stands with Kentucky today, tomorrow and every day to help you rebuild," said Biden.

The Bowling Green FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.