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Jill Biden visits Bowling Green to see tornado damage and get update on recovery efforts

Dalton York

First Lady Jill Biden was in Bowling Green Friday to see some of the damage from the Dec. 11 tornado and to get an update on recovery efforts. Her first stop was in a tornado-ravaged community.

Jill Biden walked through the Creekwood neighborhood, where the sound of roofers told of some of the recovery efforts on homes still standing. Many of the lots are still filled with piles of debris that were once homes. 

The First Lady stopped to talk with Mirjeta Mustafa who was with her two daugters, ages two and four. Mustafa said she told the First Lady what happened the night the tornado struck and how she, her husband and two young daughters had to move from their damaged home.

“I told her my older girl, she was a little bit injured from the window glasses, and also my husband, but they are fine now," said Mustafa. "I just told her we were struggling after the tornado. But also this apartment is temporary solution, 'cause we are four people and the one bedroom apartment is only for two people and they told us we have to move again.” 

Credit Dalton York
First Lady Jill Biden helps sort donated clothing at the BG Strong Recovery Center at Greenwood Mall.

The First Lady also spoke with Justice Barnett, who lived with her mother on Spring Creek Avenue. 

Part of their house and both of their cars were destroyed by the tornado, and robbers stole some of their belongings in the days after the storm.

Barnett said the First Lady and others in her group were very helpful during the few minutes they talked in front of Barnett's damaged house.

“She was just like, thank God you’re alive. She was very supportive emotionally. We just told her we’ve been robbed and the experience we had during the tornado, how it happened and what we lost," said Barnett. "They were super helpful and they gave us resources, they gave us cards for us to call them. Since we don’t have a car they said they would have an Uber service set up for us.”

First Lady Biden also visited the tornado recovery center inside the Greenwood Mall Friday afternoon, where she delivered remarks.

"There is grief all around us for the destruction of homes and hometowns and for the lives lost," said Biden. "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."

"America stands with Kentucky today, tomorrow and every day that you rebuild," said Biden. "Joe and I are with you and your families."

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